How many fire lookout towers are still active in U.S. forests and parks?



  1. 0 Votes

    This is a good question, and I couldn’t find a definitive answer. There are numerous fire lookout towers still active in US forests–I visited one, for instance, near Crater Lake in Oregon which is still staffed, at least during the summer. At one time there were over 5,000 sites in the United States that had fire lookout towers. A curious subculture has built up around the people who staff these towers, probably both because of the gestalt of this unusual job (Jack Kerouac, for instance, wrote of his experiences as a fire lookout in the classic beatnik book The Dharma Bums) and because fire lookouts work in remote areas without human interaction. There are a number of websites on the Internet devoted to the subject of fire lookouts, and the US Forest Service maintains a database of former lookout towers.

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