Pole Mountain Fire Lookout
US 273, CA 11

Lookout Details

Registry Numbers US 273, CA 11 (view other lookouts in United States, California)
Date Registered June 4, 1998
Location Sonoma County, California
Coordinates N 38° 30.310' W 123° 07.191' (view using Google Maps)
N 38° 30' 19" W 123° 07' 11"
N 38.505160° W 123.119855°
Elevation 2,139 ft (652 m)
Built 1967
Administered by Pole Mountain Fire Lookout, Inc.
Cooperators Pole Mountain Fire Lookout, Inc.

Description

As in the rest of the nation, fire lookouts are on the wane in California. But in the hills west of Sonoma County, a community-sponsored lookout atop Pole Mountain is going strong. With only two state towers in the county, the citizens of Cazadero knew that additional detection was needed. They pooled their efforts, constructed and staffed their own lookout on Red Oat Mountain in 1967. In 1981 they moved their tower to a better site at Pole Mountain. It is now the only active lookout in the county, and has been financed by donations and an annual breakfast held in April.

Map

Change Basemap

Visit Reports

October 29, 2009: Jack Piccinini

Condition

Needs paint? No Response
Shutters OK? Yes
Condition of wood OK? Yes
Stairs OK? Yes
Glass intact? Yes
Comments: This is a staffed lookout and is well maintained by the community organization that funds and manages it.

Electronics and Enroachments

Are electronic sites enroaching on tower? No
Comments: The lookout provides great views into the remote coastal hills of Sonoma County and also has good views into neighboring Lake, Marin and Mendocino Counties. It does look into the Santa Rosa Basis as well as into parts of the SF Bay Area, however, those views are often obscured by haze. The cab is very small by most standards but serves well nonetheless.

Access and Signs

NHLR sign posted? No
Directions to tower signed? No
Comments? Unfortunately this site is on private property including all access to the tower, thus, general public visits need to be arranged through Cal Fire personnel or Pole Mountain association reps. I was able to visit the lookout with retired CDF BC Ed Poe who, in 1981, was the key person, responsible for moving the tower to it’s current location and who also continues to serve as a Board Member on the Pole Mt. Lookout association.

Staffing

Staffed? Yes
Seasonal staffing is funded and managed by the Association and CAL Fire assists in the day to day management and support of the lookout in the form of radios and other equipment. The lookout communicate and reports smokes and weather directly to the CAL Fire's St. Helena ECC. Pole Mountain had 7 “first reports” this past fire season!

Opportunities for Volunteer Support

Volunteers staffing opportunities? Yes
Volunteer maintenance opportunities? Yes