The Chapter was organized in 2008 as a nonprofit volunteer organization dedicated to restoring, maintaining and staffing the historic fire lookouts in San Diego and Riverside Counties of Southern California, principally those within the Cleveland National Forest. Since that time, two lookouts have been restored and returned to service with volunteer staff:  Both High Point Tower & Boucher Hill Tower are now staffed by volunteers during the Southern California fire seasons as the chapter continues to improve and restore these iconic towers.  To better understand what we do and why we do it please enjoy the rest of this page.

High Point Lookout in the Palomar Ranger District of the Cleveland National Forest was FFLA-SDRC staffed 100% during the 2013, 2014 and 2015 fire season. Boucher Hill Lookout in Palomar Mountain State Park wasn't able to be staffed, due to staff insufficiencies, every day during the 2013 season, however, with new volunteers being brought the past two years it also achieved a 100% staffing during the 2014 and 2015 fire season. This is all accomplished with volunteers who come from all walks of life and assistance from our supporting and sponsoring organization listed below. This all-volunteer organization is also diligently pursuing ongoing restoration at both sites.


Primary Contacts


FFLA SDRC thanks you for your interest Please contact us for additional information

Chapter Chair: Scott McClintock

Training: Shane Harris

Site problems or errors

Season Group Pictures

FFLA-SDRC 2016 Group Picture


FFLA-SDRC 2015 Group Picture


FFLA-SDRC 2014 Group Picture

Fall 2014 Potluck


FFLA-SDRC 2013 Group

2013-End of Season





Fire lookouts are decidedly a low-tech way to spot wildfires

SAN DIEGO – In the far reaches of the county, miles from any homes, a wildfire can take hold without anyone seeing it start,

why fire lookout towers and the people who man can play such an important role in fighting fires.

Select below to view a Channel 6 Article & Video








FFLA San Diego Lookout Tower Video







A Lookout's Day in the Tower

Arrive well before the "going in service time" (Usually 9:00 AM = 0900):
Open the tower and take complete weather measurements and observations


Call the U.S. Forest Service dispatch on radio and advise that tower is in service.
Provide weather readings, which are forwarded to the U.S. Weather Service.

Using binoculars, conduct a careful scan of the entire visible area for smoke.
Scans are conducted every 15 minutes.

When a smoke is spotted: - Binoculars on Smoke, Record the azimuth, using the Osborne Fire Finder, estimate the distance and landmarks and note fire characteristics. 


Report all the information to dispatch via the
radio. Monitor the fire and report updates on its status until firefighters arrive on scene.

Dispatch will sometimes call the tower and ask the lookout to verify smokes reported by the public. Questionable smokes
Record all significant events in the tower log, and submit an activity report blog entry to the lookouts’ internal website.


At certain Lookout's in addition to Forest Fire Lookout duties: Lookouts preform as Docents to: greet visitors; answer questions; conduct tours and interpretive services.

Report significant weather developments on the radio.
Fire crews arrange their positions and availability based on the potential for lightning strikes.


Report and record lightning down strikes.
Monitor the area of the strike in case a wildfire erupts.
Lookouts on subsequent shifts will continue to watch those areas in case the wind blows smoldering materials into flame.

Secure all equipment, turn off radios, and lock up the tower at end of shift, advise Dispatch that the tower is "out of service". Begin the drive home knowing that you provided a valuable community service