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.



Lake County’s Mount Konocti fire lookout part of tower revival trend 

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

1Taking Weather

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.

2On Radio

Using binoculars, conduct a careful scan of the entire visible area for smoke.
Scans are conducted every 15 minutes.

3Nedra Binos BH

When a smoke is spotted:

Binoculars on Smoke

Record the azimuth, estimate the distance using the Osborne Fire Finder and 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.
4Sighting Osborne
Dispatch will sometimes call the tower and ask the lookout to verify smokes reported by the public.

Questionable smoke

Record all significant events in the tower log, and submit an activity report blog entry to the lookouts’ internal website.


 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

FFLA-SDRC Lookout Tower Video

FFLA-SDRC Lookout Tower Video





Fire lookouts are decidedly a low-tech way to spot wildfires

SAN DIEGO – In the far reaches of the county, miles from any homes, a wildfire can take hold without anyone seeing it start,

why fire lookout towers and the people who man can play such an important role in fighting fires.

Select below to view a Channel 6 Article & Video