Fire Lookouts in WA

Map I put together of fire lookouts that still exist in WA.

A little history:

Devastating fires, such as the Yacolt Burn of 1902, inspired the construction of a vast National network of fire lookout stations in the 1920s. The job of a lookout was to spot and report fires by telephone or radio so crews could be dispatched quickly. At the system’s peak, there were 5,000 lookouts nationwide—including 685 in Washington. The highest was at 12,276 feet on Mount Adams, but it was used for only three seasons, then abandoned to the year-round ice. The most difficult to reach was Three Fingers; the approach was a series of ladders spiked into a 100-foot rock wall.

By the mid-1970s, most lookouts had been abandoned as fire-detection began to rely more on technology and aerial reconnaissance. Some were deconstructed by government agencies worried about liability, some have been left to rot, and some have been restored and are maintained by hikers. Washington now has 105 lookouts still standing, with only 30 of those still actively used for firefighting. Most of these are listed in the National Historic Lookout Register:

This map shows most of the lookouts that are still standing in the Cascades based on the listing in the National Historic Lookout Register. (Note that there are also a few lookouts in the Olympics or eastern Washington that are not shown on this map). Each one of these lookouts is a unique hiking destination. Former lookout sites, not shown, are also great destinations. Not only are the lookout sites a unique part of Washington’s history, but they also all have spectacular views. Some of the standing lookouts even have beds and stoves for a first-come, first-serve overnight stay.

Reference links:


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gimpilator - Jan 1, 2010 8:02 pm - Voted 10/10

Outstanding Work

Wonderful job compiling all this information into an image that is pleasing to look at and easy to understand.

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