It’s no secret that Western North America has faced a historic wildfire season this summer, and more dire conditions are likely to come. One job that helps the situation from being worse is the position of the fire lookout. Some lookouts in more urban areas are automated, but people still need to occupy the mountains in more remote locations across the country. In Klamath National Forest, 50% of fires are first reported by these lookouts. They perform various functions: reporting the weather and wind speeds, looking for smoke and fires with the Osborne Fire Finder, scanning the sky, and a lot of downtime in between.
This video is a must-watch for those who love to be up in the mountains.
A big portion of the video focuses on female fire watchers, who have had to break barriers to enter the field. In 1913, Hallie Morse Dagget became the first woman to be a fire lookout. She watched over Klamath Peak in the Klamath National Forest of California. She watched over the fire tower for fifteen summers. Today, Jodi King is the fire lookout for the same peak, inspired by the legacy that Dagget blazed. She has been a lookout for thirty years.
Here’s the video description: “There were once thousands of active fire lookout towers across the country; today, while many are automated, a few hundred are still staffed by people whose job is to watch for forest fires in remote, rugged areas, like Klamath National Forest, in California and Oregon. Correspondent Conor Knighton talks with two fire watchers who are scanning the skies. “
Image Credits: CBS Sunday Mornin