Volunteers Needed To Spend Time In Fire Lookout Tower

The Miami Mountain Lookout near Oakhurst is the first line of defense for fires in the high country.{} Surprisingly these towers in the Sierra National Forest are staffed strictly with volunteers during the six months that they operate.

Toney Gorham has been a volunteer in the look since 1998.{} "Well the view is incredible.{} The opportunity to just help out in your community is definitely a high point.{} You're helping to protect your own community."

Gorham and his 16 year old son Nate spend nine hours scanning the mountainside with binocular looking for smoke.{} Just last year volunteers in Miami Mountain Lookout were the first to report the bridge fire about three miles away as the crows fly.{} Franny Adams is a ranger with the Sierra National Forest. "Oh the lookouts are extremely important because they are our eyes in the sky.{} They're the ones that mainly find the fires that are out there in the forest when they're really small."

At 43-hundred feet bad weather can blow in especially during the afternoons.{} Lightning is responsible for many fires in the high country.{} Gorham says when that happens and you're in the tower you stand on a stool that has glass insulators on the legs.{}"It's frightening, it's interesting, it's a whole different kind of experience than I've had before.{} It's somewhat dangerous but the tower is grounded."

It's a nine hour view on the mountain top that never gets old but definitely carry's a lot of responsibility.{} The Sierra National Forest{}is always looking for volunteers.{} If you are interested contact the Yosemite-High Sierra Forest Fire Lookout Association.{}

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