ODF Fire Spotters Take Positions

By Bryan Navarro

SODA MOUNTAIN LOOKOUT, Ore. — ODF staff are moving into fire lookouts perched high above Southern Oregon and Northern California.

It’s move-in day at the Soda Mountain Lookout. It’s a room 6,000 feet high, and a home for the next 4 months. Ken Struck is calling this 14 by 14 foot space his home for the rest of the summer and does he love the view.

He’ll be spending a good deal of the summer taking it in: on the catwalk, peering through binoculars and searching for columns. This is isn’t a summer vacation home and he won’t be spending the days reading and relaxing. Ken guesses the area he patrols might be half a million acres.

“Got over here by little Lincoln country, and they toned out a grassfire in Ashland, we had just been there. We came back and there it is, standing up about that tall for us, a half-acre,” Ken Struck explains.

This is Ken’s 26th year on this duty. He says the most stressful part of the job is giving land crews directions to a fire, then waiting, and worrying: thinking, “are we going to catch it?”

With a quarter century of experience, and a top-rated view, NewsWatch12’s Bryan Navarro asked Ken what his prediction was for this fire season. He said all that time has taught him not to make a prediction, or at least not to tell anyone what it is.