Eyes of the Forest: Idaho's Fire Lookouts

"What really is the catalyst for the fire lookout evolved out of the fires of 1910. That really urged the agency to get into fire detection, and they wanted eyes on the forest twenty-four hours a day. So you see this huge increase all the way to World War Two."
– Richard Holm Jr.

In the twentieth century forest lookouts became home to hundreds of men and women known as fire watchers. They were intent on spotting smoke and chasing fires. Lookouts became the eyes of the forest and the protectors of the land. At their height more than eight thousand lookouts dotted the nation. But no state boasted more than Idaho. At one time around a thousand locations in the Gem State were home to fire lookouts and their forest guardians.