November 20, 2017

Fire Tower expected to be Occupied during Heat of Summer

Fire Tower on Jubilee Mountain, Yukon

This fire tower expected to be occupied during heat of summer is located on the very crown of the same mountain ridge which is also home to the mountain cabin I wrote about in a previous post.

When compared to the soaring loftiness of it’s adjacent 200 foot tall microwave tower, my little 50 foot tower looks downright puny by comparison. But you’ll notice I haven’t included that other tower in these pictures, because I want to still be able to leave you with a clear impression of the height belonging to this little tower so you’ll have a better appreciation for it.

Here’s one looking straight up the ladder from ground level to give you another sense and perspective of it.

Looking up the ladder of the fire tower

When I’m standing on the floor of its six-sided inner shape I am actually at the official 4,000 foot elevation level of one of the foothills of Jubilee Mountain, which is located among the lofty mountain ranges and massive waterways of the magnificent Southern Lakes region in the Yukon Territory.

It’s a place I’m only required to climb to during periods of sustained summer heat and high temperatures which have reduced the forest duff to tinder so dry that a human fart could light it up into roaring flames.

Okay, okay I’m exaggerating a little there. You’d actually have to hold a match to the same location as the fart is emanating from for that to happen, but you get the idea.

I’ll admit it’s hard to see a fart from that high up and far away, but I guarantee you I’ll spot the smoke from your pants going up in flames pretty darn quick! Never mind being able to see the smoke and flame certain to inundate the surrounding area when you rip them off and unthinkingly fling them into the trees beside your campsite and run for the nearest body of water to cool your cooking backside.

I use this particular little graphic example to illustrate the fact that this tower overlooks some of the most highly human-used waterways and camping areas in the entire region, all of which are located among or adjacent to small communities and subdivisions of people living their version of the northern country life.

All of those people and their dwelling places are therefore naturally considered a high priority on the scale of places to be watched over with an eagle eye cocked toward noticing unauthorized smoke signals spewing into the pristine blue of our skies up here in the summer – whether or not its ever determined that they originated from a lightning strike, an out-of-control fart fire, or some other more mundane but equally unthinking reason on the part of human use of the area.

So this tower and the Fire-Finder device and map it contains are a highly important component of the region’s ability to deal with sudden wildfires that can spring into existence at any time during periods of extreme summer heat. And I’m happy to say that as a Fire Lookout sitting in this tower that I’m considered to be an equally important part of our Territorial wildfire prevention and control strategy.

So you can count on the fact that this fire tower is expected to be occupied during heat of summer days yet to come.

Your comments as always are welcome. Just use the form below and I’ll get them.

Comments

  1. Anne Matthies says:

    I see some of your musings, what fun you must have writing these things, and I guess it fills your time while up in the fire tower? How lucky can a person get? Keep it up, my friend.
    One day……..

    • Thanks for checking in and commenting, Anne! Yeah, it’s a lot of fun to write these musings, no question about that! And yes, it’ll be interesting to see what additional inspirations show up this summer at the tower again…who knows what kind of treats we could all be in for next fall/winter season? Or not…lol…depends on my Muse, I guess…but I’m looking forward to whatever shows up. I’ll keep chipping away at it though, regardless of my Muse’s presence, I promise!

  2. I love reading your posts, Ken. My six summers in the Yukon are ones I will never forget. I wish I had the opportunity to meet you.
    Maybe you’ll know – are there any fire lookout towers in the Ross River area? I read about them in a book but I can’t seem to find any resources that lists where these towers are.
    Keep up the good work!
    Ildiko

    • Thanks for your comments and questions, lldiko – it’s great to know SOMEONE is reading and enjoying my posts…LOL! And I do have some answers for you to those questions, but first, I’m curious now too after reading your comment about having spent six summers up here in the Yukon.

      What years were you here, what brought you here, and what’s the likelihood that you might still have the opportunity to return for another visit? Because if a return visit is possible for you at some point I too would enjoy the opportunity to meet together as you have also expressed. You can also correspond your answers with me more directly via mkmatthies@gmail.com on the subject if you wish.

      To answer your question about fire towers and their locations. The Territory currently has only six operational towers left in this current season, with three others having been closed this year by way of what many Yukon residents deem to be an ill-advised bureaucratic decision made by current head management. With that key management position due to be replaced at this season’s end most residents who are aware and concerned about the subject are hoping a more experienced, knowledgeable and “operationally-minded” individual will be chosen for this position, given the current status of our forests and our department’s safety mandate to protect our communities and forests from fires to the extent both necessary and possible. That’s a difficult goal to achieve without an adequate number of “tower-eyes” actually being operational in key locales throughout the Territory.

      There is no tower in the Ross River area – operational at least – and only six currently operational in or near the communities of Dawson City, Stuart Crossing, Carmacks, Watson Lake, Haekle Hill in Whitehorse and my own tower located overlooking the communities of both Tagish and Marsh Lake, Yukon.

      You can go to our department’s website at http://www.community.gov.yk.ca/firemanagement/ for more information on the subject if you wish.

      As for keeping up the good work with my posts – thanks – I’ll certainly try to do that too!

      Regards,
      Ken

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