Restored fire lookout open house this weekend

SUBLETTE COUNTY, WYO – Fire lookout structures today are becoming rarer and rarer. With the advent of mobile phones and the ability of an ever-growing contingent of backcountry users to report (and take pictures of) any fire start they may encounter, as well as more frequent air support—from nearby fire suppression efforts to commercial airlines—also calling in smokes, the need for a dedicated Forest Service employee to live in and spot from remote fire lookouts has become largely unessential.

But these structures once played an important role in spotting forest fires early and getting resources to them. This Saturday, August 24, from 11am to 2pm, the Sublette County Historic Preservation Board and the Bridger-Teton National Forest will host an open house celebrating the recently restored Deadline Ridge Fire Lookout in association with Smokey Bear’s 75th anniversary.

The Deadline Ridge Lookout is located on the Deadline Ridge crest in the Wyoming Range, just southwest of Big Piney. The lookout was built in 1941 by the Civilian Conservation Corps, and was used as a fire lookout into the late 1960’s. Over the past five years, members of the Sublette County Preservation Board have been working in partnership with the Bridger-Teton National Forest Heritage Program to restore the Deadline Ridge Fire Lookout.  Historic preservation principles guided work that resulted in historically accurate paint colors, repair of existing door and windows, and installation of several newly built custom windows and shutters.

The Deadline Ridge Lookout is now seasonally open to visitors who wish to go inside and enjoy the interpretive panels. Join in Saturday’s celebration of local history and take in the beauty of a fire lookout’s expansive view. Smokey Bear will be in attendance to celebrate this special fire lookout, along with a display of firefighting tools and fire prevention information from the past 75 years.

Sublette County Historic Preservation Board will provide lemonade and cookies for all to share. Visitors are advised to bring layers, water, lunch, sun protection, and a chair. Be prepared to walk a short distance from the parking area to the lookout.

Deadline Ridge Lookout can be reached by travelling three miles south of Big Piney to the Calpet Road turnoff. From there, watch for “Open House” signs along the road. Plan to drive about 45 minutes to reach the lookout. Parking is limited, so carpool if possible. High clearance 4WD vehicles are recommended.

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