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
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.
Lookout’s at certain locations in addition to Forest Fire Lookout duties preform as Docents:
They 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. Subsequent lookout shifts continue to watch these areas in case the wind blows smoldering materials into flame.
Secure all equipment and advise Dispatch that the tower is “out of service”.
Turn off all radios and lock up the tower at end of shift.
Begin the drive home knowing that you provided a valuable community service.