June 27, 2011 - Ron Kemnow photo
July 27, 1934: "With the assistance of CCC employes, the federal engineers have practically completed grading the new road to the top of Cahto mountain, which is also known as Signal Peak, and rises about six miles west of Laytonville. The new road leaves the county road in Long valley at the Purdy ranch.
The work has been under the direction of the forestry department, which will establish a fire lookout station on top of the highest points in the county and is easily visible from the top of Windy Nook, 10 miles due west of Ukiah, and fully 35 miles south of the Signal Peak." (Dispatch Democrat)
August 10, 1934: "The forestry department last week opened a new lookout station on the hills near Cahto. It is to be known as Cahto Signal and will cover a large section of the country west of Laytonville.
The forestry men have the best setup this year they have ever known in this county for fighting fires. Up to date there have been no serious blazes, and this may be accounted for by the fact that the entire county is dotted with lookout stations, with suppression crews located at convenient places so that no fire can get much of a start without being located quickly." (Ukiah Dispatch Democrat)
October 12, 1934: "The lookout station on Cahto mountain was closed the first of the week and Jack Purdy, the lookout, has moved back to Willits with his family." (Dispatch Democrat)
April 12, 1935: "Emergency conservation funds have enabled the Division of Forestry, Department of Natural Resources of California, to complete the forest fire detection system in Mendocino County. The final link in the system was the building of five and three-quarter miles of new road winding up the east side of Cahto Mountain to an elevation of 400 feet, where the new lookout tower is located.
The lookout house has a 20-foot tower from which rangers can spot the start of a fire anywhere among thousands of acres of virgin trees, and on grazing lands." (Oakland Tribune)
May 24, 1935: "The private telephone line the state forestry department has been building for the past several months was connected up with the Cahto mountain lookout station last week and will also be hooked up with the Iron Peak lookout station in a few days. Splendid progress is now being made on the line to the coast. Frank Eberhardt, who had charge of the telephone line construction, has been promoted to the position of foreman of Camp Northwestern and M.E. Potter, who has been holding the position all winter, will resume his position as assistant forest ranger for Mendocino county." (Dispatch-Democrat)
July 23, 1989: "Fire destroyed a Lake View Drive house near here Saturday morning, a state forestry spokesman said.
The Cahto Peak lookout spotted the fire just before 11 a.m. Saturday and reported it to the state forestry department's Howard Forest headquarters.
Dispatched to fight the fire were three state engines and two engines from the Laytonville Volunteer Fire Department.
The fire was contained in just 30 minutes, the spokesman said, but by then the house was a total loss." (Ukiah Daily Journal)
1990: This Lookout will not be staffed this fire season due to budget cuts.
COLD SPRING MOUNTAIN
August 5, 1931: "This community was shocked Sunday when word was received Thomas Lynch passed away in San Francisco. Tom, as he was familiarly called, had been working as fire lookout at Signal Ridge and a week previous had gotten out of bed to answer the telephone and had stepped on a thorn on the floor of his tent. The thorn penetrated the bare foot and a portion broke off in the foot. On different days during the week he had friends who called on him try and get the thorn out with their pocket knives and by Friday his leg and foot were quite sore and badly swollen and he was brought to Point Arena for medical attention. Saturday he was taken to San Francisco, arriving there shortly after midnight. Blood poisoning had by that time reached such a stage nothing could be done and he died about five o'clock Sunday morning." (Ukiah Republican Press)
May 17, 1933: "Oliver Moore, fire ranger of Willits was here during the past week to oversee the building of a lookout station on Signal Peak, it is understood a telephone line will be run from the station to Philo. A road has been built to the top of Signal which will eliminate a long steep climb that has had to be made on foot to reach the summit." (Ukiah Republican Press)
1990: Due to budget cuts the Lookout will not be staffed this fire season.
January 2, 1929: "State Forest Inspector R.E. Roach has just concluded an agreement between the Division of Forestry and J.D. Lacey Co. which owns about 30,000 acres of timber on the Garcia and Gualala rivers in this country, whereby increased fire protection will be made possible by that company helping to provide funds for the work.
This coming spring a fire lookout station will be built and maintained on Gualala Peak, which overlooks an immense area of timberlands in southwest Mendicino county and northwest Sonoma. Besides the station many miles of fire breaks will be constructed in advantageous places in the district.
Much credit is due Ranger R.E. Roach and C.F. O'Brien, of Point Arena, caretaker of the J.D. Lacey holdings, as it was mainly due to their efforts this increased fire protection was made possible and it is sincerely hoped other timber owners in the above district can be induced to cooperate in the much needed work." (Ukiah Republican Press)
April 30, 1929: "Ten miles of telephone line is in course of construction from Gualala Peak to Anker Bay. The State will station a lookout man on Gualala Peak this season." (Redwood Journal)
July 19, 1930: "An observer will also be stationed at the lookout station which has just been built at the head of Gualala river and he will also go on duty next Monday. From that point all of southwestern Mendocino county and northwestern Sonoma will be under observation." (Ukiah Dispatch Democrat)
June 28, 1935: "Next month the Gualala lookout station will be built. It will have a 60-foot-high steel tower and will command a splendid view of all of the Fifth Supervisoral district and the northern portion of Sonoma county." (Ukiah Dispatch Democrat)
July 26, 1935: "A CCC crew was sent to Gualala this week and they expect to be kept busy for some weeks erecting the steel lookout station which will command a view of all of the Fifth Supervisoral district and most of Sonoma county. They will also build a good motor road from the present county road to the station." (Ukiah Dispatch Democrat)
July 26, 1940: "The remarkable view to be seen from the lookout station at the summit of Hull Mountain was one of the discoveries John W. Taylor, county superintendent of schools, made during a week's vacation. While standing in the glass enclosed lookout station at the 7000-foot elevation, one can see Ukiah and Round Valley, portions of Clear Lake and Lakeport, Mr. Taylor said.." (Dispatch Democrat)
September 6, 1940: "One of the first things noticed by a visitor on Hull Mountain is what looks like a small airplane propeller revolving on a miniature steel tower. You ask Lookout Charles Henry if this is some Weather Bureau instrument. Smoky presses a button to show you he has electric lights in his house up here on a seven thousand foot peak, then explains that the contraption is a wind charger which supplies electric current for his radio and furnishes light for his house. Henry purchased the wind charger four years ago, cost price in connection with radio purchase $15.00. It is hooked up with two six volt car batteries and for four years has furnished all the electricity needed. One battery is all that is absolutely necessary but Henry keeps two hooked up just to make certain of plenty of current at all times. He states he has not spent a cent on the outfit since hooking it up four years ago. Appears to be an effective and economical power plant. Why aren't they on all lookouts?
Shouldn't be necessary for the lookout to pay for them out of his own pocket. --Harris - Mendocino -" (California Ranger)
November 8, 1940: "The following is copied from Ranger Floyd Long's annual report. 'Our most unusual use of radio was on a lightning fire, one of a series, which occurred on the north side of San Hedrin in a very inaccessible country. The fire could not be located after an extensive search by Suppression Foreman Foster and his five man CCC crew, but it was still visible to Hull Mountain Lookout. Finally, Foster built a smoke signal in a safe place and the lookout readily picked it up. Then by talking to the lookout via radio Foster got the direction and approximate distance to the fire from the location of the smoke signal and proceeded to the fire without difficulty.' " (California Ranger)
December 23, 1925: From the County Board of Supervisor's December 1925 meeting: "The State was authorized to use $500 from the balance left in the fire suppression and prevention appropriation to establish a fire lookout on Iron Mountain in Northern Mendocino County." (Ukiah Republican Press)
April 14, 1926: "The State forestry department has recently redistricted northern California which will be classified as the North Coast district. Forest Ranger R.E. Roach will be in charge of the work of the new district which will include a field lookout on Iron mountain near Laytonville and also a fire lookout on the Garberville Buttes." (Ukiah Republican Press)
October 20, 1926: "The good work done by the Iron Peak look-out station is receiving much praise as no fires have occurred in this locality this year. There is some talk of the center co-operating with the fire warden next summer in burning off the ranges and clearing them of the brush, thus making more pasture." (Ukiah Republican Press)
March 30, 1929: "The first bill of Assemblyman Ingels that has been passed is now up to the governor and provides for the transfer of about 200 acres on the top of Iron Peak, northeast of Laytonville, from the government to the state. This is the site of the fire lookout station for that section. There is no objection to this bill from any source and the object is to keep some enterprising citizen from filing on it and then holding the county up." (Ukiah Dispatch Democrat)
June 3, 1929: "Iron Peak road about seven miles long from Cummings to Iron mountain will be completed by June 1. H.J. Hoff, contractor in charge, has completed his work of building the road, together with a lookout station under the supervision of Emmett Roach, fire warden of the seven northern counties." (Dispatch-Democrat)
July 19, 1930: "At the Iron Peak station, which is located nine miles northeast of Laytonville, J.E. Frazier is the lookout, and from this point there is a clear view of the entire northern portion of the county and part of Humboldt." (Ukiah Dispatch Democrat)
March 26, 1930: "M.B. Pratt, of Sacramento, chief of the division of forestry, was here from Sacramento Friday to inspect the fire trails being built in the hills west of town. While here the chief unfolded the fact a fire lookout station will be maintained next summer on the hill directly west of Clay street.
A fire trail is being built to the spot from the foot of Clay street and when it is completed a telephone line will be installed and the station built.
According to Mr. Pratt the mountain affords a view of the valley from Hopland to the Ridgwood ranch, all of Potter Valley and Redwood Valley and most of the high land between this city and Lake county and when the fire hazard grows with warm weather a lookout will be maintained at all times.
The fire trails west of town are from 30 to 50 feet wide and run north and south and east and west. It was at first intended to install the lookout station on Pine Ridge but a survey showed the present chosen site as suitable and much more accessable to telephone service." (Ukiah Republican Press)
June 7, 1930: "A 'lookout tower' twenty feet high was erected this week on the highest peak in the hills just west of Ukiah. From this point all of the country within a radius of 25 miles is in plain view, and a man will be stationed there during the period of fire hazard. Linemen are now erecting poles and stringing telephone wires from Ukiah to the lookout station so that the observer can send in the alarm immediately as soon as a fire is spotted.
The extensive system of fire trails and laterals built on the ridges of Ukiah last winter have been completed." (Ukiah Dispatch Democrat)
June 18, 1930: "The lookout station at the top of the mountain directly west of Ukiah is undergoing finishing touches this week and it is expected, by the end of the present week it will be equipped and ready for use. The building, which with the lookout tower, is 20 feet tall, is at the crest of the fire trail leading up from Clay street and commands a view of a radius of 25 miles in all directions. Last week linemen of the Pacific Telephone and Telegraph Company installed poles and ran a telephone line into the building and it is expected forest fires will hardly break out until their direct location will be reported at the headquarters of State Forest Inspector R.E. Roach here. It is planned to have a forest ranger on duty every hour during the summer months.
The erection of the station is an added attraction to this city, many persons planning to visit the lookout and learn exactly how the government handles forest fire control. With the fire trails encircling the mountains west of the city there is no doubt Ukiah will be saved much of the apprehension felt in other years when the fire hazard has been greatest." (Ukiah Republican Press)
July 30, 1930: "The fire lookout station west of Clay street was opened Monday with firewarden M. Hair on duty. A 24-hour lookout service will be maintained during the remainder of the summer." (Ukiah Republican Press)
August 13, 1930: "The expeditious manner in which the forest fire menace is taken care of was demonstrated Thursday when the lookout on the mountain west of town reported smoke arising from Pine Mountain, near the Sonoma-Mendicino counties line.
Forest Ranger Willis Dimmick left immediately for the scene and after several hours of fire fighting, during which seven acres of brush and grass lands were burned over, had the fire under complete control. Before the days of forest-fire-fighting efficiency the fire would probably have burned for weeks with great damage to stockmen and other property as dry brush and grass abounds in that vicinity." (Ukiah Republican Press)
September 3, 1930: :The house on the former Ed Wright place on the Low Gap road, was destroyed by fire recently. The building, which was a mere shell was quickly consumed. The rising smoke was detected immediately by the fire lookout stationed on the mountain west of town and forest rangers left at once and prevented the fire spreading to nearby timber. The former Wright place is now owned by Guy Redwine." (Ukiah Republican Press)
July 15, 1927: "The Mattson lookout station near the Ellison schoolhouse in the Littleriver road will soon be in operation overlooking Big river and the Albion and Navarro rivers." (Dispatch-Democrat)
August 29, 1934: "Joe Quaill has been trucking lumber to the site of the new lookout station on the Mathison place near the head of Little River. A 30-foot tower is being erected. Caspar Amundsen is working on the project. Frank Mathison has charge of the station." (Ukiah Republican Press)
August 31, 1934: "Frank Mathison will have charge of the new lookout station, which is being erected on the Mathison place near the head of Littleriver in the Mendocino section. A 30-foot tower is now in the course of construction." (Dispatch-Democrat)
May 26, 1949: "The forest fire lookout station on the Mathison property has been opened for the season, with Miss Emma Mathison again in charge. The station is located about three miles east of Little River Airport." (Redwood Journal)
November 18, 1925: "Harry Goldert, lookout at San Hedrin, passed through this valley, enroute to San Francisco, his duties there being over for the season." (Ukiah Republican Press)
April 20, 1927: "Chess Riffe, chief of the fire ranger lookout on San Hedrin, near Covelo, was a Ukiah visitor several days this week. Mr. Riffe is well known in the Round Valley country where his interesting work had kept him for a number of years." (Ukiah Republican Press)
September 2, 1987: "The spreading flames and billows of smoke forced the evacuation of the Sanhedrin fire lookout tower Tuesday afternoon. Gil Easter said the lookout, Mike Zwicky, was not in immediate danger but he could not have been evacuated later if danger grew.
'He couldn't see anything anyway,' Easter said, referring to the smoke that reduced visibility to near zero." (Ukiah Daily Journal)
September 3, 1987: "The flames raced up Sanhedrin's slopes and destroyed the fire lookout tower at the mountain's peak. The lookout had been evacuated earlier and escaped harm." (Ukiah Daily Journal)
September 13, 1987: "The fire lookout at Mount Sanhedrin's peak was spared from the fire, contrary to reports earlier in the week. It has been re-manned." (Ukiah Daily Journal)
1992: Due to budget cuts the lookout will not be staffed this fire season.
July 15, 1927: "Covering most of the redwood timber belt from the Navarro river drainage northward to the northern boundary of the Ten Mile river water shed, patrolmen and lookouts of the Redwood Fire and Protective Association went on duty July 1. Judson Rich is stationed at the Sherwood mountain lookout at the head of Ten Mile and Noyo rivers. From this point he overlooks practically all of the land covered by the association as well as considerable territory to the east of the mountain and is able to give prompt report on any smoke which appears." (Dispatch-Democrat)
July 7, 1989: "Sheriff's deputies are investigating reported threats received by a fire lookout at the Spy Rock lookout tower.
The tower is operated by the state forestry department. The Spy Rock area is notorious for its marijuana plantations, but available information gave no indication if the reported threats, but no available information gave no indication if the reported threats were linked to marijuana planters." (Ukiah Daily Journal)
September 25, 1989: "Two Rock Lookout recently reopened, with the help of volunteers from the Willits area.
Funding from the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection had been lost for the lookout, and Chief Ray Hebrard had expected that it would not be staffed this year.
Community members responded, however, and it now appears that the lookout will be fully operational for the remaining fire season.
Two Rock is among the volunteer lookouts which are all members of the CDF's Volunteer-In-Prevention Program (VIP). Volunteers assist CDF with numerous fire prevention duties. People interested in volunteering can contact...." (Ukiah Daily Journal)
1990: The Lookout will not be staffed this fire season due to budget cuts.