11/06/12 75 W, 1 I - + 2 - 2 Day in the Life of a Fire Lookout

America the beautiful. From a friend on Facebook, exceptional video by Marin County Fire Department volunteer Gary Yost, who has been a lookout on Mount Tamalpias in Oregon for about two years. Next and obvious questions, are any towers still manned on our side of this great country? Guess I need to consult this prior posting on the topic.

Mike, I sent this story to a old time friend Bob Shapleigh (now in his late 80’s) who was a Fire Chief back in the 1950-60s era in the Haddonfield Fire Co in NJ. When he retired, he moved up to Maine, and came back to NJ in the late 90’s, where he now lives. He sent me this story I would like to pass it onto you. Bob Bartosz


A Day in the Life of a Fire Lookout.

Bob, Geez, this brought back many pleasant memories. When in Maine there was a chain of towers stretched from the NH borders all the way North. The one by us was the “Sanford Tower” on a mountain range behind the town of Sanford (which was adjacent to the Shapleigh Village).

The tower was manned by a lady who lived in a cottage about 100 yards from the tower. She wasn’t a youngster and I don’t know how she made that climb every day.

I used to climb up once in a while and visit with her. She was happy with company (she was employed by a State forestry section). Once in a while, if my wife made some homemade veggie soup or a casserole, I would take some along.

A couple times she spotted a wisp of smoke and would triangulate with the Waterboro Tower. She explained so much and taught me many things.

Then one day she was notified that they were unmanning all the towers in an effort to save money. The State Police would fly a light plane on patrol. Fortunately Mrs. Griffen was pension eligable.

Now, the various fire companies along the route raised hell. The state wouldn’t budge, so the various firemen manned the towers on a volunteer basis.

When I moved I lost all contact, I do not know what the situation is now.

Bob Shapleigh
Bob Bartosz - 11/06/12 - 18:11

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