James Arthur “Smokey” Alexander Interview, December 8, 2002


Denis Alexander Bittner



Download Audio Interview (64.1 MB)

Download Transcript of James Alexander Interview (96 KB)


James “Smokey” Alexander discusses joining the first smokejumper squad in 1940 after working as a firefighter in Great Falls, Montana. He describes the genesis of the United States smokejumping program, fellow smokejumpers, his training, and the equipment the smokejumpers used during the early 1940s. Alexander discusses his first jump on July 20, 1940 into the Cox Creek Fire in central Idaho. He also describes subsequent jumps and the Mann Creek Fire of 1949.

Document Type

Oral History


Smokejumping training; Smokejumping equipment; Cox Creek Fire, 1940; Mann Creek Fire, 1949; Smokejumping, Pacific Northwest; Firefighting, Great Falls, Montana; Smokejumping program, United States

Original Date


Time Period

Twentieth century

Geographic Coverage




Original Collection

Forestry, Land Use, and Conservation Oral History Collection, Archives and Special Collections, Mansfield Library, University of Montana-Missoula

Digital Publisher

University of Montana--Missoula. Mansfield Library


Copyright to this collection is held by the interview participants and by the Maureen and Mike Mansfield Library, University of Montana-Missoula. Permission may be required for use. For further information please contact Archives and Special Collections: (406) 243-2053 / library.archives@umontana.edu

Oral History Number

OH 404-001

Media Type

Sound; Text

Original Format

1 sound cassette (90 min.): analog + 1 transcript (13 p.: 28 cm.)

Digital Format

audio/mp3; application/pdf

Run Time

00:48:45 minutes

Local Filename

OH_404_001.mp3; OH_404_001.pdf

James Arthur “Smokey” Alexander Interview, December 8, 2002