Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Isn’t it boring?
A: Yes, if you are dependent upon electronic devices for intellectual stimulation. No, if you are self-motivated, enjoy the outdoors, and see a 9-hour shift as a peaceful escape from frenetic daily interactions.
Q: Do I need a 4-wheel drive vehicle to get there?
A: Usually no. Only the last 2-1/2 miles are unpaved, and that section is usually in good condition. Should the dirt road become rough, you can often partner with another volunteer with a high-clearance vehicle.
Q: Why use volunteers for such an important function?
A: After the government closes a program and removes it from the budget process, it is virtually impossible to restore it. Additionally, the Forest Service does not have the personnel to staff the lookout.
Q: Is there a restroom up there?
A: Just a government porta-potty.
Q: Can I bring my dog?
A: No, for numerous reasons, and many things can go wrong.
Q: Can I bring my music playlist?
A: No. We need your ears attuned to fire service radio channels so that you don’t miss important messages.
Q: If I sign up with my spouse, can we work together?
A: Yes. Experience in other chapters shows that couples make good lookout teams.
Q: Why operate only during the day? Wouldn’t you see fires better at night?
A: Lookouts very rarely see the flame at the base of a fire. Because of the mountainous terrain in the backcountry, they usually see only the plume of smoke as it rises from behind ridgelines. Additionally, at night it is impossible to determine the distance to a distant flame.
Q: Don’t they have satellites, drones and/or webcams to do this task?
A: Those technologies exist in some places to confirm fires that have already started, but almost nowhere is anybody monitoring electronic screens from these sources to detect new fires. Humans with binoculars can detect a young smoke long before machinery can.
IF YOU ARE INTERESTED
Please complete the application form. You will be placed on an e-mail distribution list and kept updated during the offseason. If you have questions, please e-mail or phone Scott McClintock at (760) 585-8400, email@example.com