US smokejumpers skydive into illegal pot garden

A smokejumper is a firefighter who parachutes into wildland areas to extinguish forest and wildfires. One team of smokejumpers descended onto a rather unexpected patch of marijuana plants.

MEDFORD, Oregon — A team of smokejumpers parachuting into a fire in the mountains of Southern Oregon landed in an illegal marijuana garden being prepared for growing season.

The six smokejumpers found the site Monday evening, when there was a rash of lightning strikes.


Jackson County sheriff's spokeswoman Andrea Carlson says the smokejumpers notified authorities, who hiked into the remote site in the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest. They seized two guns and more than 1,000 little pot plants.

Carlson says the site was being cultivated by growers for Mexican drug gangs, and it's been used before.

She says the smokejumpers saw some people but weren't sure whether they were pot growers, so no one was arrested.

The smokejumpers extinguished the fire after it burned less than an acre.