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Mountainswest Publishing

Fire Lookouts: The Later Years

Fire Lookouts: The Later Years

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The early years in the development of the fire lookout system were fraught with difficult decisions, hard work, and danger. Roads and trails had to be built, materials had to be transported. Building materials and supplies were carried up steep, treacherous mountainsides on the backs of horses, mules, and men. Primitive conditions were met with courage, grit, and determination. The people who built and the people who staffed and maintained these lookouts were often exposed to extremes in weather; heat, blizzards, wind and lightning. Occasional accidents and illnesses were to be expected and sometimes had tragic consequences. The earliest lookouts consisted of the top of a tree; an alidade mounted on a crude support or on a tripod; or simply a mountain top where an observer scanned the surrounding countryside with a powerful field glass, always on the alert for the slightest wisp of smoke. Working conditions improved considerably in later years, but there were still elements of danger, loneliness, and the ever-present need to be alert. The historical information in these volumes is the culmination of many years of research of original documents by Ron Kemnow for his website, Also included are many historical photographs. Some of the older photographs and picture postcards are of poor quality, but were included for their historical value. This book is not in narrative form, but is a collection of official reports, letters, and news articles, presented as they were originally written.

Author: La Vaughn Vanderburg Kemnow
Publisher: Mountainswest Publishing
Published: 10/26/2017
Pages: 202
Binding Type: Paperback
Weight: 0.61lbs
Size: 9.02h x 5.98w x 0.43d
ISBN: 9780984616480

About the Author
The author grew up on a dairy farm in the Pacific Northwest, adjacent to the Siuslaw National Forest, where her grandparents and great grandparents had been among the earliest settlers. Family outings often consisted of a drive over narrow, dirt Forest Service roads winding through towering fir and spruce forests. The day would often include a primitive picnic, with venison steak threaded on sharpened willow branches and broiled slowly over the glowing coals of a small cooking fire. Sometimes their travels through the foothills of the Coast Range led them to a lookout tower. This interest was expanded in later years when she and her husband began visiting fire lookouts and abandoned lookout sites. The fascination with the history of these sites led to an in-depth study and research of original documents pertaining to the subject, much of which is presented in these volumes.

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