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What’s It Like to Be a Modern Day Fire Lookout? Let this Video Provide an Answer

What do you think of when you hear the term fire lookout? Famed outdoor writer Edward Abbey may have made the job most famous, and even when you hear the term today, you may be thinking of someone alone in a tower decades ago. However, there are modern day fire lookouts, and their jobs are just as important. 

An Instagram account known as “Follow My Leap,” whose real name is Ben, has documented two seasons as a fire lookout. 

Ben does a fantastic job of covering the day-to-day in multiple hilarious videos. One highlight showed the boredom of a foggy day.

Check it out: 

As Ben shows, a lot of the work of a fire lookout, besides the obvious, is checking on the weather. He routinely checks in to report his findings and the current situation. He’s based in Washington State, so that means some wet days. In this clip, fog has blocked his view of most of the mountains. In the meantime, he reads books, folds paper cranes, and tries to stay busy.

While this is a slow day, Ben did reply to a comment on what a busy day would be like, saying, “It’s when there are new fires everywhere.”

Ben calls it in if there is a fire, and officials will send a crew to handle it. 

Believe it or not, there are still a few hundred fire lookout towers today. In some cases, modern technology has made some obsolete, but there are plenty of places where they are still helpful. In some areas where wilderness officials have abandoned them, a fire lookout tower can highlight a trail. 

Sound like a job you would want?

Most positions are with the U.S. Forest Service. This related website does a great job keeping track of all the openings. 

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