Thread: Fire towers
05-09-2000, 06:36 PM #1Fireguy57Firehouse.com Guest
Does anyone work on a fire lookout tower, or have you ever, and does your area use them, or do you feel they are important?
05-11-2000, 11:17 AM #2SWIDFCWINSFirehouse.com Guest
To answer your Questions, just read this month's issue of FIREHOUSE Magazine and find the article about forest fire tower lookouts.
05-11-2000, 12:27 PM #3Pelican631Firehouse.com Guest
Up here in Northern Wisconsin they are used during the fire season quite a bit. They are manned spring through summer by the DNR and report directly to the DNR office by radio. All DNR rangers, airplanes, and heavy units can talk to them as well, but not the structural departments, at least on a regular basis.
05-12-2000, 04:56 PM #4MtnFireFirehouse.com Guest
Here in the Missoula/Frenchtown valley of Montana, we have a lookout on the top of Stark Mt. all summer. She is usually way ahead of anyone in finding the smokes, and amazingly accurate. I had a fire on my land last year, I knew that I'd had a lightning strike and had been smelling elusive whiffs of smoke for a couple of days; even though she is 10 miles away, she saw it, reported it, and nailed the location exactly long before us ground pounders could find it. With her info, it just took a couple of hours to line it out, but could have gotten bad if she had not seen it when she did.
I am a firm believer in lookouts.
05-13-2000, 11:44 PM #5Captain HickmanFirehouse.com Guest
Use to work in a 120 foot tower here in Southwest Missouri. Enjoyed it from the fire time I climbed the thing. But due to cut backs and with an increase in rural fire protection, several of the towers in Missouri are being removed. We had 6 on the district, but now only 2 or 3 still stand. They are not being used at the present time since the state has started to use air patrol to cover not only one district, but two or three on high danger days. This patrol can cover a larger area and determine if it's a wildfire or a control fire alot easier. There were days that I use to climb the towers as many as 5 to 6 times a day. There were many times that I climbed the tower and would set well into the night usually up to 2000 to 2200 hours and watch for fires and never leave it, other than an occational rest break. I hate to see the days of the tower going the ways of the long playing record (33 1/3 type). There are some still out there, but getting fewer and fewer.
I know they are out there and one of these days, I like to take a vacation and rent one for at least a couple of days for a cabin high above the ground or high on a mountain and again listen to the sounds of nature high aloft.
[This message has been edited by Captain Hickman (edited May 13, 2000).]
05-16-2000, 09:07 PM #6Ranger10Firehouse.com Guest
In New Hampshire we still operate 16 fire towers full time during the fire season. We supplement them by air patrols during periods of very high fire danger. It is expesnive to man and maintain our towers, but I strongly feel it is worthwhile and increasingly important with houses and developments being built back into the woods.
It is a constant battle to keep funding for our tower system, especially when we face numerous budget cuts. It's hard to place a value on resourses saved, but last year one of our towers reported a fire that would have burned a home worth more than our entire tower budget for the year.
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