CHEWS RIDGE LOOKOUT
The Monterey Ranger District of the Los Padres National Forest, in partnership with the Forest Fire Lookout Association, will be exploring the possibility of activating the Chews Ridge Lookout and staffing it with local volunteers in order to provide firefighters with early fire detection, as well as other assistance to the National Forest. In many circumstances, catching a fire when it is still young can prevent it from becoming large and destructive. This project gives volunteers the opportunity to help improve fire safety in Monterey County rural areas, the Ventana Wilderness, and the Los Padres National Forest.
9 thoughts on “Forest Fire Lookout Project – Chew’s Ridge, 6/6/19”
MY DREAM JOB!
Excellent idea! Hope it goes forward. Maybe it will provide budding poets oportunity for inspiration to develop their voice while on that job. 🙂
Have we ever explorored the idea of having paid forest rangers in the national and state forests, along with trained volunteers to educate, montitor, and enforce regs for campfires in those areas? It would seem much cheaper than using 100s of millions of dollars to attempt to control a wildfire as it takes months to burn itself out. Having a network of rangers and volunteers with radios could reduce responce times by hours or days.
There was Emil Pozzi, Jeff Norman, I believe Butch Netland, maybe Mac McChesney, and gosh who knows who else. So yeah, when the Forest Service had money we had these guys covering our backs!
Koiphish, I echo Janet’s comment. In the 1970’s I was one of countless ‘seasonal’ USFS employees employed in trail maintenance, recreation, timber cruising, ‘brush disposal’, thinning, and other non-fire jobs who was cross trained in wildland firefighting. When a fire broke out it would be ‘all hands on deck’ and we would jump on the fire as directed by ‘the overhead’. We all interacted with the public to educate them on appropriate use as opposed to abuse of the forest resources. These jobs vanished with the political shift toward ‘smaller government’ and the fire season, even in the mountains, has almost doubled in length from my day. Those of us living in rural America west of the 100th meridian have to incorporate a ‘wildfire plan’ into our lives. We must create a ‘defensive space’ around our dwellings, support our firefighters, and elect representatives who will support the wide array of policies which will give us the best chance of being survivors when fire moves through our communities.
Thanks for your comments Janet and Nick. My point is that we do have government funding (in this “shift to smaller gov”) on the level of Billions of dollars to attempt to fight and control what ends up burning itself out. Maybe if we all point out the real solution is much cheaper than creating more fires for fire fighting companies and products, then we could get funding for these needed effective preventive services. Part of this would be making a list of all those 70s rangers (I have a few names too) and how they helped prevent wild fires by education, monitoring and enforcement of regs. All I hear today about wildfires is mostly blaming the weather.
I do see that we need to continue “defensible clearances” and other fire defenses like water storage with fire spec plumbing … but even the insurance companies know that that really only protects the wild areas, and not so much the actual structures. We need prevention first in priority, just like the health care crises.
Koiphish, I am interested in your ideas on prevention. Education and fire danger signage has a positive impact however my observation is that as long as people have access to wild lands, some will discard smoking materials, let a campfire escape, have auto and aircraft accidents, or use a metal implement in a manner which causes sparks; then there are lightning strikes and power line failures. It seems that fire is with us until fuel moistures recover and are sustained. Prescribed burning is effective in minimizing the occurrence of large scale fires as demonstrated by the fact that Yosemite was saved from the fire last summer which moved up the Merced River Canyon by large areas which USNPS personnel had been treating with prescribed burned for multiple prior years. However, there is significant public pushback when land management agencies attempt to use prescribed burning near inhabited areas due to smoke. The Soberanes fire cost $260 million, the Basin Complex fire cost $120 million and then there was the Marble Cone fire. Here is a thought, buy out the private landowners inside the perimeter of these fires and then exclude entry to the region when the fire danger passes a certain point and then try to bring prescribed burns back as practiced by native americans.
12-26-19… Kate, after this holiday cold storm would this lookout be snowed in this late morning?
Here is a little history of Chews Ridge from the National Weather Service. We are currently researching the history of the Fire Weather Program from the NWS. It has been found that the first Incident Meteorologist, Mr Leslie G Gray, did the first dispatch to Chews Ridge and did the first forecast for a fire. This was either for the Miller Creek fire or the Aliso Canyon Fire back on Sept 1st 1928. To this day, the NWS is still going to fires and briefing crews/teams for firefighter safety!