Boucher Hill for 11/16/2018

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1st Lookout:-53- Whitlock,A (V)
2nd Lookout: 21-Meyncke, J(V)

In Service: 0729 – 1810 :Out of Service
Smokes, Lightning & Incidents:1547: 225.5 deg @19 mi, west of I-15 in San Marcos. (Update given to correct distance from initial estimate of 16 mi.)

Weather:DB: 50-55; Hum: 28%-25%; Wind ENE @ 3-10; W @ 0-7; Vis VG/G in haze; Skies: Scattered cirrus & altocumulus in all directions; No marine layer.

Communications: Good comms w/ CNF and SURCOM. Good LBR w/ HP and RM. VOIP was operational. FORNET Tone 4 went down for one hour due to service. Switched to Tone 3 from 1027-1136.

Number of Visitors: 5/16 for annual 9,816

Additional Information:Smoke was difficult to detect in the afternoon haze, which also complicated determining the distance. Turned out to be the San Marcos Fire Department doing a burn at their training tower. Delayed OOS to accommodate sunset-watchers.

High Point for 11/16/2018

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From:Stephen Ruesch
1st Lookout:82-Ruesch, Stephen(C)
2nd Lookout: 27-Cutsinger,A(C)

In Service: 0755 – 1558 :Out of Service
Smokes, Lightning & Incidents:None

Weather:DB 49/55, WB 34/35, RH 24/8, DP 14/-6, WDir E/NW, WS 8-10/5-7, Vis Good/Good with increasing haze to north and south by mid afternoon, SKY Altocumulus & Cirro-Cum/Stratus, Marine layer – coastal.

Communications: In-service CNF w/ WX. Good LBR w/ BH. VOIP working, call from BH.

Number of Visitors: 1/1(hiker with dog) = 2 YTD – 1030

Additional Information:Alan on OVN. Nice to be welcomed with fresh coffee and breakfast too.

0855 Forest Service COM 27, Duncan on location to work in repeater vault. Tone 4 off the air for approximately 1 hour. Contacted BH, they had already switched to Tone 3 for the down time.

Informed Duncan of our issues with our Davis unit in the tower. He confirmed the ground unit is sending all data to the vault, and then reported on After completing work in the vault he came up and was able to restore data display. But he suspects a problem with the antenna connection, as signal received is intermittent, and/or it is an internal issue with the console.

1418 LBR call from RM to check for smoke near Hwy 371/Wilson Valley Rd. Unable to see anything from RM. Glassed area, nothing showing. 1425 RM called back, 1×1 spot that unit on scene handling.

FFLA – Raffle Request for Potluck Lunch

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Dear Fellow Lookouts,

Those who have attended one of our world-famous potlucks in the past know the raffle is a big hit with everyone. Not only does it give our amazing volunteers an opportunity to walk away with some great items, it also raises money for our chapter, which uses it to purchase necessary equipment to do our job and to help with preservation projects. 
Some of the items we have raffled off over the years include hotel/dinner packages, San Diego Zoo passes, books, fishing rods, challenge coins, replica (mini) fire finders, framed tower photos, the old blanket from the bed at High Point (I know, eww), handmade items, theater tickets, fresh eggs, and so much more!
These items all came from our very own members… with the exception of the High Point blanket, which just needed to go. I’m telling you this to get you thinking of ways you might be able to help with this year’s raffle. Of course, you don’t have to make a donation, but our members are our greatest resource. 
Maybe you have a hidden talent like wood working or photography. Maybe you accidentally purchased two of something and the extra is taking up space in your spare room. Maybe you know somebody who has a business, and they would be happy to donate an item or service. Maybe you and your favorite tower buddy would like to put together a themed box or basket filled with a few fun/useful items that another lookout might like (coffee, chocolate, wine, etc.).   
Please give it some thought, and if you are able to help with the raffle, let me know. You can email me directly at
Thank you!

Sara Jones, 

Boucher Hill for 11/15/2018

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From:Randy Lowenstein
1st Lookout:88-Lowenstein, Randy(V)
2nd Lookout: 89-Lowenstein,D (V)

In Service: 0700 – 1630 :Out of Service
Smokes, Lightning & Incidents:No smokes or other incidents to report

Weather:am=DB-50, WB 37, Humidity 28%, DP 18, Wind NE @ 5, Visibility Good, Sky Clear w/ scattered cirrus, no marine layer, pm= DB 59, WB 43, DP 24, Humidity 26%, Wind SSW @ 1, Visibility Fair w/ haze, Sky cirrocumulus. Had 1 gust reach 14 in the early am.

Communications: Good communication with CNF, Surcom and HP via LBR and landline. No contact with Red Mtn. Had some bleed over from another source on the LBR.

Number of Visitors: am= 18, pm= 4, daily total= 22, Yearly total= 9795

Additional Information:a lot of activity on Camp Pendleton Ranges, 6 sightings, 4 with light smoke that dissipated and 2 thought to be smoke ended up dust cloud from ordinance. Heavy traffic on the scanner. Several ( send everything) full wildland dispatches that were cancelled. Park personnel tried to work on the lovely scent in the restroom. They discovered that the exhaust fan is not working. Stayed clear enough along coast to see all the islands & produce a nice sunset. A nice day in the tower.

High Point Lookout – Thursday 15 Nov 2018

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At opening visibility was great with good sightlines to the Mt Wilson Observatory, San Clemente and Santa Catalina Islands, 

and downtown San Diego.  We could even see the illegal alien horde scaling the fences in Friendship Park. Temperatures 
started at 48 degrees with relative humidity at 9%.  By noon we were at 56 degrees and 13%. A band of dirty air, presumably from 
the fires northwest of Los Angeles, spread across the northern horizon.  By 1100 that band had expanded to extend from the west 
horizon, across the northern horizon, and all the way to the eastern horizon.  General haze was developing everywhere as the hours 
wore on.  By 1400 the brownness of the band had disappeared but the haze continued to build.
Alan Cutsinger (27), here for an overnight and two shifts, brought in enough supplies to last three weeks.  He was going to haul 
it up with the pulley system but the winds were high enough, up to 20 mph, to cause the lines to become entangled in the 
superstructure.  The good news is that he got to make multiple trips up and down to bring his gear up, thus getting plenty of exercise.
At about 1535 the scanner came to life regarding a backyard fire between Deer Springs Rd and Valley Center.  We were unable to
see any smoke from it.
Neil Cadwallader (2) went out of service at 1600, trying to beat the sun to landfall.

Boucher Hill for 11/14/2018

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From:John Downing
1st Lookout:29-Downing, John(T)
2nd Lookout: 30-Downing, Pat (V)

In Service: 0658 – 1700 :Out of Service
Smokes, Lightning & Incidents:Smoke: 181 degrees, Mexico, Not-Reported; Smoke: 274 degrees, 23 Miles, Camp Pendleton; Smoke: 260 degrees, 20 miles, West of Bonsal.

Weather:DB: 45/54; Winds:25-30 gusting to 40, AM. Becoming 2-5 in the afternoon.

Communications: Good comms, LBR from H.P. clear and strong. VOIP in good working order.

Number of Visitors: 4/12 total 9773

Additional Information:Went OOS at sunset.

High Point for 11/14/2018

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From:Stephen Ruesch
1st Lookout:82-Ruesch, Stephen(C)

In Service: 0915 – 1630 :Out of Service
Smokes, Lightning & Incidents:None

Weather:DB 45/50, WB 30/32, RH 13/8, DP -2/-9, WDIR E/NE, WSpeed Steady all day 25-28, gusting to 35. VIS VG/VG but hazy to south, but clear view into San Diego area. Skies Altocumulus and Cirrus/Clear in PM. No marine layer.

Communications: Good LBR with BH using the base radio. Had to reset VOIP and adjust ringer volume at in service.

Number of Visitors: AM – Sheriff Volunteer Patrol vehicle with 2 members. PM 2 YTD 1028

Additional Information:At 0600 AM a fantastic predawn view from South Grade on the way up the mountain. (pic below) One advantage to these early starts.

Departed from Palomar Station at 0630 with good intentions. But encountered issues with the “upper” (east) observatory gate. The Red lock opened but unable to remove from the daisy-chain. Tried the Forest Service lock, the key turned but it would not open. Returned to Palomar Station (crew from Idaho staffing the station) but finally located Gil. Gill road out on a quad,. He pried the USFS lock open then applied an abundant spray of WD40. Finally got it to open and close freely. Should be good for rest of the season.

0930 smoke visible in haze from Sierra Fire , 128 degrees 65 miles, in Rialto/San Bernardino area. First started last night. Later reports as 85% contained and 147 acres.

1325 heard radio report of “header” south of I-8. Glassed area but unable to see in heavy haze to far south. CNF reported it well in Mexico. About 45 mins later, haze has pushed to West, plume now visible at 183 degrees.

1509 Boucher reported smoke to CNF @274 degrees in area of Pendleton area. Not visible from HP. CNF confirmed on range at CP base.

Key/Padlock in Locker at Palomar Station

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Hi Guys,

During the next couple of days you may find a key/padlock in the locker at Palomar station. Hopefully it will have my name on it. It is from Gil. If you see it, please leave it alone and I will pick it up on Sunday when I go up for my shift.



Does anyone have storage space at their homes?

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Hi Guys,

Curt has been storing about 5 storage totes and a couple of boxes of FFLA items in his garage but now he needs the space back.

Is there anybody central (Valley Centre, Oceanside, Carlsbad etc) that can take these and keep them safe for awhile?

The totes contain mostly archival documents along with some historic items. I dont envisage anybody needing to have access to them on a regular basis.  If you can help out please email me directly at



High Point Gate Locks

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There was an issue with the Upper Observatory Gate locks today. The USFS lock was attached in such away that the lookout couldn’t get  our padlock open. He tried to use the USFS lock but it was too stiff to open. Gil from Palomar station came up and had to pry the USFS lock open before he was able to lubricate it enough so that it opened freely.

Please keep an eye on the locks as you go through the gates and continue to report any issues that you may have.

The locks that we use (the red marks on them) are USFS locks , not ours so if they start to have issues please let Lief and myself know so we can get them replaced if need be.


Shane (1)