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SCMF Newsletter

Training April 2016

Dear Interested Fire Lookout Host:

What to expect as a Volunteer

Thank you for your interest in becoming a volunteer for the Southern California Mountains Foundation (SCMF)-Fire Lookout Host Program. We know that you will enjoy this opportunity to serve the community and local fire agencies in helping to prevent devastating wildfires such as we have experienced in recent years. In addition, you will be a host to visitors to the lookout. The mission of the Fire Lookout Hosts reflects the mission of the SCMF.

Southern California Mountain Foundation believes that connecting communities to our public lands is the key to their survival. We mobilize individuals to inspire and engage in environmental citizenship.

There are three paths through which you can assist with this important public service,

1. Training to become a qualified volunteer fire lookout

2. Interpret the natural and cultural history of the fire lookouts, and the surrounding area.

3. Assisting in the physical restoration of the lookout structure and grounds.

    ...or a combination of the above.

Becoming a fire lookout is an interesting, enjoyable, and rewarding undertaking. However, it is not a position to be taken lightly. This quote from our Training Objectives underlines the importance of our role in protecting the Forest;

"Our primary objective...is to provide timely and accurate information to fire-fighting resources in the areas of fire detection, weather conditions, and communications and greeting visitors warmly, and providing general forest information.

Our lookout hosts must be professional, reliable, attentive and most importantly, trustworthy as they may have a larger perspective of the fire environment, how incoming weather will impacts it and safety of personnel in the field." 

The Lookouts

Fire Lookout Hosts presently staffs seven lookouts in the San Bernardino National Forest. Butler Peak, Morton Peak, Black Mountain, and Red Mountain Lookouts are accessed by Forest Service dirt roads that are rough and steep in places, but normally passable for high-clearance two-wheel-drive vehicles. Strawberry Peak and Keller Peak Lookout are accessed on a paved narrow road. Tahquitz Peak Lookout is at the elevation of 8,828 and is about a 4.5 mile hike to reach the lookout. All of our lookouts have visitors and answer a lot of questions. All of our Fire Lookout Hosts will be volunteering for the SCMF and the U.S. Forest Service and therefore you must be professional. All of the lookouts have a port-a-potty, no running water, and few have heat, you choose what lookout you would like to volunteer at. We do not choose for you. 


First you need to be sure that you can commit to 8 1/2 hours a month. If you can do this then you will need to take our four mandatory training classes that must be completed to be a Fire Lookout Host: Orientation (2 hour), Interpretation/National History (3 hours), and Operations (7 hours). We have several dates and locations to choose from (see below). After the classroom training, you will also be required to complete 9 hours of "In-Tower" training in the lookout of your choice with an In-Tower trainer before being certified to work alone. After certification, hosts are expected to work, at a minimum, an average of one shift per month during fire season (usually 7 shifts). A shift consists of nine hours in-service in the lookout which can be done in one day or two 4 1/2 hours shifts in one month. 


Uniforms are required - your shirts can be a short sleeve or long sleeve polo shirt with our logo and your pants must be a navy blue or khaki. Hosts are responsible to purchase their own uniform at the end of our training session. 

An initial package which includes, name tag, uniform shirt, and Training Manual is provided at a cost of $40.00 due on Operations Training Day. 

This may all sound daunting, but becoming a Fire Lookout Host is not as difficult as it may appear. Our Hosts come from all walks of life; medical fields, housewives, engineers, clergy,and retirees -you name it. Being a Fire Lookout Host is an enjoyable (and at times exciting) experience, and the satisfaction of being an important part of Fire Lookout Host Program fire detection team is well worth the expense and effort of training. 




If you have any questions, please feel free to call Pam Morey on her cell phone at (909) 225-1025 or email us at

We hope to see you in April!

Pam and George Morey

Fire Lookout Host Program Coordinators

Supervisor Office (SO)
602 So. Tippecanoe Ave.
San Bernardino

Saturday, April 9th 10am–12 noon
Monday, April 11th 6:30pm–8:30pm

Interpretation/Natural History:
Saturday, April 9th 1:00pm–4:00pm
Monday, April 18th 6:30pm–9:30pm

Saturday, April 23rd 9:00am–4:00pm
please bring a lunch

23500 Highway 243
Mountain Center

Saturday, April 2nd 10am–12 noon
Interpretation/Natural History:
Saturday, April 2nd 1:00pm–4:00pm

Saturday, April 16th 9:00am–4:00pm
please bring a lunch

Skyforest Work Center
28104 HWY 18
Lake Arrowhead

Tuesday, April 5th 6:30pm–8:30pm

Interpretation/Natural History:
Tuesday, April 12th 6:30pm–9:30pm

* We do not offer Operations at this location.