FOREST FIRE LOOKOUT ASSOCIATION

Central California Western Region

The Central California Western Region Chapter (FFLA-CCWR) was organized in 2015 as a nonprofit volunteer organization dedicated to restoring, maintaining and staffing historic fire lookouts in California’s Central Western Counties.  To better understand what we do and why we do it please enjoy the rest of this page.

A Lookout's Day in the Tower

Arrive well before the “going in service time” (Usually 9:00 AM = 0900):
Open the tower and take complete weather measurements and observations
Call the U.S. Forest Service dispatch on radio and advise that tower is in service.
Provide weather readings, which are forwarded to the U.S. Weather Service.
Using binoculars, conduct a careful scan of the entire visible area for smoke.
Scans are conducted every 15 minutes
When a smoke is spotted:
Record the azimuth
Estimate the distance using the Osborne Fire Finder
Note fire characteristics
Report all the information to dispatch via the radio
Monitor the fire and report updates on its status until firefighters arrive on scene.
Record all significant events in the tower log, and submit an activity report blog entry to the lookouts’ internal website
Dispatch will sometimes call the tower and ask the lookout to verify smokes reported by the public
 At certain Lookout’s in addition to Forest Fire Lookout duties:
Lookouts preform as Docents to: greet visitors; answer questions; conduct tours and interpretive services
Report significant weather developments on the radio.
Fire crews arrange their positions and availability based on the potential for lightning strikes
Report and record lightning down strikes.
Monitor the area of the strike in case a wildfire erupts.
Lookouts on subsequent shifts will continue to watch those areas in case the wind blows smoldering materials into flame
At end of shift, advise Dispatch that the tower is “out of service”.
Secure all equipment, turn off radios, and lock up the tower
Begin the drive home knowing that you provided a valuable community service