Sunday, January 06, 2019

Fire Lookouts

The men who built and staffed fire lookouts back in the 1910s and '20s were some determined dudes. They moved the materials for these cabins to the top of some of the tallest of the Cascades. Often by pack mule, but by hand when they had too. And then they spent long summers alone, waiting to call in the location of any fire. Once World War II started the lookouts used for the Aircraft Warning Service were often staffed through the Winter as well. Long cold nights at the top of a mountain. My hat is off to them.

Silver Star Mountain Lookout in 1964

You can read some of the stories of the lookouts and the men who manned them at Eric Willhite's excellent website. There were lookouts on trees, peaks and mountains all across the state. At many places a foundation is all that remains. Eric has visited nearly all of the sites and taken pictures of them. He also shows panoramic pictures taken when the Forest Service was deciding to build one at a given location. It's fascinating to look back at a time when our forests were being developed. To see old maps marking ranger stations which were decommissioned long before I was born.

The Cook Creek Lookout
These men were determined problem solvers. I am planning an event to maintain one of the roads they used. It will be an honor to follow in their steps.


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