copyright 2002 by Gino Caputi
TITLE CARD: "HELL'S CANYON"
INT. CARGO PLANE - DAY
ENGINES of a CARGO PLANE roar. An open door allows a glimpse of the majestic canyon below. Wind whistles steadily as a STATIC LINE drops.
Go, Dee-Dee, go!
A SMOKEJUMPER-- that is, a forest firefighter who parachutes down to fires in difficult to reach areas-- springs down the line.
Get out there Holly!
ANOTHER SMOKEJUMPER tumbles after the first. Each jumpers' PARACHUTE opens, in sequence.
EXT. FOREST - AERIAL SHOT- DUSK
The lead jumper, DIANA BYRNES, 29, looks up to see where her jump partner is.
You with me, Holly?
Her partner, MATTHEW HOLLINS, 24, moves to her top right.
Right on top of you, chief! Feels nice!
Terrific! Now back off!
EXT. FOREST - DIANA'S P.O.V - AERIAL SHOT -DUSK
The approach to the forest floor begins slowly, giving Diana time to take in the spectacular panorama below.
A PATCH OF SMOKE can be seen between two hilltops, on top of a ridge.
Beautiful. Right up the ridgeline.
Within moments, Diana advances upon a clearing in the forest. The sound of the wind all but dies out. Diana puts her feet together and prepares to land.
EXT. FOREST - DUSK
With a THUMP, Diana lands on the grassy clearing. She rolls a few feet then gets to her feet and glances up at TWO MORE JUMPERS departing the Cargo plane, their parachutes opening securely.
TITLE CARD: "IDAHO: HELL'S GATE STATE PARK. LAST FALL."
Diana begins to fold up her chute. Hollins lands thirty or so yards away. He lays motionless. Diana looks over to him, concerned.
Matt? You okay?
Fine, chief. Just savoring the moment.
Diana walks to him and offers a hand.
The moment's up the hill, where the fire's at.
Way up there?
Hollins takes Diana's hand, and playfully pulls her toward him. She yanks her arm away and lets him fall to the ground.
You're wasting time, ya dumbass!
Watch your mouth, chief. Stacey already says I cuss too much because of this outfit.
I'll show her cussing. Now get up.
Hollins pops up, and begins to fold his chute.
You're makin' it so I can't come back next year.
Suits me. Stay home with your Molly Mormon. See how long she can tolerate you.
Hollins makes a buck-toothed yokel face and affects a twangy voice.
Stacey loves me as I am: Happy to be whipped and pecked for the rest of my life. Like somebody else I could mention.
Hollins stands up, chute folded and ready for action. The two grab their gear and start hoofing it up the ridge line. A few dozen yards later:
Tommy's not whipped.
Well, I notice he's not out here with us, chief. (again affecting the voice) "Gotsta stay home with my daughter."
Hollins makes a whipping noise followed by a meow.
You're just jealous that he's got it so easy.
Jealous of doing Mike's busy work? Ha! The only thing Tommy has over me is you, chief.
Diana smiles at him, slightly embarrassed.
You said something there, buddy.
Diana playfully kicks Hollins in the rear then the two continue their trek up the ridge.
EXT. FOREST - NIGHT
Silhouetted against the FLAMING TREES, DIANA, HOLLINS, and two other jumpers, RANDY SHEPHERD, 35 and RUBEN ESTEVES, 28, now stripped of their JUMPSUITS and FACE MASKS and wearing YELLOW FIRE RESISTANT SHIRTS and BROWN PANTS, dig "hand line" --a three foot swath of fuel-less dirt-- around the fire. Esteves uses a CHAIN SAW on blackened LOGS.
WINDS begin to pick up speed.
Diana stops for a moment for a shot of water. Hollins joins her.
You feelin' that, chief?
I've felt worse.
She pulls out her RADIO and presses the transmitter.
Clearwater Dispatch, this is Jumper Diana Byrnes on Clearwater Direct.
CLEARWATER DISPATCH (O.S.)
Go ahead, Byrnes.
Yeah, winds are picking up from the southeast. Fire's spreading to about seven to ten acres. We'll need a retardant drop, if you got it.
CLEARWATER DISPATCH (O.S.)
Uh, copy that. You have a hotshot crew from Challis en route.
Copy. We'll put 'em to good use.
A tree "crowns"(explodes from the heat). Wind carries the flame to several other trees. The fire spreads quickly.
Hollins and Esteves rush toward the edge of the trees to try to stop the spread.
She's looking to run, Dee-Dee.
(looking at the fire)
I see that, Randy.
This is a firestorm, Dee-Dee, not a training video.
She glares at him.
Keep digging the handline.
Diana's digital walkie-talkie beeps.
Hon? Do you copy?
Go ahead, babe.
INT. MCCALL SMOKEJUMPER BASE - DISPATCH OFFICE - NIGHT
Training Manager, TOMMY MONTOYA, 32, sits in the dispatch office, talking on his Nextel.
Yeah, I heard the last part of your transmission. You guys okay?
EXT. FOREST - NIGHT
Fine. We just need a plane. And the wind to cut us a break.
Uh...copy that. Challis has hotshots on the way.
I know that. Tommy, tell Mike to get us that plane!