In a time when fires can be spotted from aerial surveillance, some have questioned whether fire lookouts are still needed. However, for those who enjoy the solitude of working in nature and have a love for mountain views and fresh air, this unique job is a dream come true.
As a forest fire lookout, your duties and responsibilities are to spot any signs of smoke on the horizon. You may also notice possible violations of fire prevention restrictions and offer input on forest management decisions. Since the position is stationed in high and sometimes confined spaces, a fire lookout must be able to keep focused for long periods of time and work alone.
Other responsibilities include monitoring weather conditions. A thermometer, barometer and other instruments help you detect changes in temperature, atmospheric pressure, humidity and other factors that can affect wildfires. You will also use a map and an Osborne fire finder to plot the location and distance of any smoke you see on the horizon. You’ll also maintain two-way radio communications and offer support to firefighting efforts.
Most of the time, fire lookouts are paid a salary, but it can vary depending on the company and their specific job. They also receive a living allowance, which is typically based on the cost of housing in a particular area, along with food, utilities, fuel and transportation costs. Some even get a bonus. Regardless of how much a fire lookout gets paid, it is a job that provides a once-in-a-lifetime experience in remote and beautiful locations.