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By the mid-1970s, most lookouts had been abandoned as fire-detection began to rely more on technology and aerial reconnaissance.Some lookout structures were deconstructed by government agencies worried about liability, some have been left to rot, and some have been restored and are maintained by hikers.As of 2013, 87 fire lookout structures remain standing on the tops of rugged summits across the state of Washington.This page provides some history, locations, and photos of these last standing sentinels of Washington's past.Some of the standing lookouts even have beds and stoves for a first-come, first-serve overnight stay.*When I first began researching fire lookouts in 2010, there were 92 lookouts still standing in Washington.The job of a lookout was to spot and report fires by telephone or radio so crews could be dispatched quickly.At the system’s peak, there were 5,000 lookouts nationwide—including 685 overlooking the extensive forests of Washington.
There was also a shake cabin added just below in the summit in 1942 which has since been removed.I try to keep my fire lookout records as accurate as possible, so I would appreciate being notified if/when any more of the remaining 87 fire lookouts are no longer standing.**During aerial photography flights over the wintery North Cascades, John Scurlock and I have photographed a handful of lookouts, mostly in the Baker-Snoqualmie NF / NCNP region, and a few in the Wenatchee and Okanogan NF regions.An aerial photo is given if I have taken one.** Built in the mid-1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps, this 45' stone tower with live-in top floor observatory served as a state lookout until the mid-1960s when the number of tourists interfered with the firewatcher's duties.Promptly abandoned in 1970, volunteers worked on constructing a new cab during the late 1990s.The lookout may be added to the Recreation Rental program in the future.