Smoke Impacting Fire Lookouts

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MT. SEXTON, Ore. — The new lookout on top of Mt. Sexton was locked up and un-manned Wednesday morning.

Even if the lookout was there, he or she would not have been able to see very far because of thick layers of smoke. Only straight overhead was there a hint of blue sky. Fire managers say when it’s this smoky, it takes other sources to find fires.

“We rely on the public to make calls,” Greg Aexander explains. “If they see a fire they call it in. In addition, we increase our patrols in our patrol areas to get the engines into the field and drive around.”

Lookouts also function as a radio relay station for fire crews in deep canyons where communications are poor. And Alexander says most planes that could be spotting fires are also grounded for now.

Even though there’s a forecast of lightning coming this way, there doesn’t appear to be any lookout at all on the Sexton Mountain lookout. After all, what could they see? Smoke surrounds that place. You can’t even see hardly a hundred yards away from the lookout tower.