Sierra National Forest
U.S. Forest Service
Clovis, CA 93611
Fire lookouts have long been a part of the wildland firefighting in the United States. Three historic lookout towers are in close proximity to the Ferguson Fire - Henness Ridge, Signal Peak and Trumbull Peak Tower. All are on the National Historic Lookout Register (NHLR). (see historic photo of Signal Peak Lookout below)
Located in the Sierra National Forest southwest of Yosemite National Park, Signal Peak Lookout has been in service for nearly 100 years. The first structure was a 12'x16' ground house and in 1911 an octangular second story was added. In 1926, a 14'x14' frame cab was made to live in and could be placed atop tall fire tower ground house was placed in service. The present 14'x14' C-cab with tower on an 8' foundation was constructed in 1951. Signal Peak Lookout has been wrapped for protection against radiant heat from the Ferguson Fire. (see photos below)
Of rustic architecture, Henness Ridge is a three-story structure built in 1934 by the Civilian Conservation Corps(CCC). The first and second floors are garage and living quarters respectively. The third floor cab is 13’ x 13’ with a catwalk. Now reserved for emergency use, the Yosemite National Park site has been restored. (see historic photo below)
Looking up Yosemite Valley, the Stanislaus National Forest Lookout on Trumbull Peak was built by the CCC from 1934-35. The site awaiting restoration includes a 41’ steel tower with 7’ x 7’ metal cab plus a 19’ x 30’ quarters was built partly on stilts because of the steep terrain. The bedroom resembles a lookout with windows on three sides. (see historic photo below)
The first permanent lookout in Yosemite National Park, Crane Flat was built by the NPS in 1931 before the CCC. It and Henness Ridge are fine examples of the Park Service Rustic Architecture. The first story with garage is of stone, topped with a 13’ x 13’ wooden cab with catwalk.
Historical information is from the National Historic Lookout Register. The National Historic Lookout Register is a cooperative effort of the U.S. Forest Service, the Forest Fire Lookout Association, state agencies and other private groups to recognize historic fire lookouts throughout the United States. For over a century, lookouts have been a proud symbol of forest conservation. Here, we recognize individual lookouts that have helped in fire detection and wildfire management for at least 50 years.