STEVENSVILLE - You could tell it wasn't fire season because of the snow.
But for US Forest Service (USFS) rappel teams, training for another long year of work can't wait for the weather.
For the second year in a row, teams from all over the country are using the Ruffatto Ranch near the Bass Creek Recreation Area for their annual training and certification.
The weeklong stay includes training on the ground at the Smokejumper Center in Missoula and then taking to the air to practice their drops.
The rappellers are critical to firefighting because they can drop into areas quickly to fight fires, and especially lightning-caused blazes, while they're still small and before they can threaten communities.
The teams will continue training the rest of the week. Bass Creek remains open, but users should watch for extra traffic and be expecting some noise from the operations.
Rookie teams will back for training on May 2.