The people providing local fire watch services are not doing the job for the adventure and thrill of spending weeks atop a watchtower in the middle of nowhere. Spotting wildfires is their primary goal for manning the fire towers. If no one performs this job, residents of nearby towns can get surprised with blazes already near their homes.
In the early 1900s, fire towers first became popular as the main method of detecting wildfires. Usually perched and located high on the mountain ridge, these lookouts offer a fantastic vantage point. It allows the men or women stationed at the tower to quickly see any flame or smoke column around the area and provide the best fire watch services.
While the view from the watchtowers is breathtaking, the job entails hard work and dedication. If you want to work at these towers, you can expect to spend countless hours every day watching the surrounding acres for possible fires.
Since the lookouts are perched high above the ground, they can be vulnerable to lightning strikes. That’s why these facilities are often grounded with copper wires to let the electrical charge shoot into the ground.
Whether you want to be a fire watcher or are just curious about how local fire watch services work, you need to watch this video by CBS Sunday Morning. In the video, Correspondent Conor Knighton interviews two fire watchers stationed at Klamath National Forest in California.