Doug Houston Interview, July 28, 1981


Doug Houston


Bruce Van Voorhis



Download Audio Interview (103.7 MB)

Download Transcript of Doug Houston Interview (322 KB)


Doug Houston, the training foreman at Redmond Air Center, describes the decision by the regional office to begin closing smaller smokejumper bases and centralize resources. He notes that the uncertainty about whether a base will be open the following year caused a significant amount of attrition among experienced jumpers who left for other jobs. Houston discusses how his wife feels about his decision to smokejump, especially the amount of time he spends away from home during the summer. He talks at length about the possibility of women becoming smokejumpers and his concerns that the standards will be changed to accommodate women. He argues that the training is hard and many women aren’t physically capable of handling the job. her and using the larger bases outlines various training techniques throughout the interview. Houston offers his opinion on the importance of a jumper’s attitude on how well they do their job. He concludes by telling a “war story” about a difficult jump in a hardwood forest.


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Document Type

Oral History


Smokejumpers, United States; Women smokejumpers; Gender disparity, smokejumpers; Smokejumpers, physical requirements; Smokejumper history; Smokejumping; Forest fires; Smokejumper standards; Redmond, Oregon; Winthrop, Washington; Centralization, Smokejumper bases; Northern Cascades Smokejumper Base; Training methods

Original Date


Time Period

Twentieth century

Geographic Coverage

Oregon; Washington



Original Collection

Nick Sundt Smokejumpers Oral History Project, OH 172, 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 /

Oral History Number

OH 172-016, 017

Media Type

Sound; Text

Original Format

2 sound cassette (02:00:00 min.) analog + 1 transcript (28pp.: 28 cm.)

Digital Format

audio/mp3; application/pdf

Run Time

01:24:34 minutes

Local Filename

OH_172_016_017.mp3; OH_172_016_017.pdf

Doug Houston Interview, July 28, 1981