From the Fire Tower

Gordon’s family arrived in Oregon in the early 1850’s. His great-grandfather regularly traveled (by horse) the 240 miles between Canyonville and Madris to shear sheep and provide for the family. You could say Oregon runs in the family - one of Gordon’s sons is a Hot Shot firefighter; the other son works for the Forest Service in Umpqua.

When we met Gordon he was spotting smoke in the Cinnamon Butte Firetower. The fire season is in full force in southern Oregon; there are 25 confirmed fires reported, 21 on the Tiller Ranger District and four on the Diamond Lake Ranger District. 

Gordon isn’t a full-time fire spotter, he spends his time delivering firewood, selling Christmas trees in the winter, checking on fire towers, and patrolling the district. 

Time in a fire tower isn’t lonely for Gordon - he’s too busy tracking smoke and lightning to feel the isolation. Some fire towers are closed off to visitors, but Gordon welcomes the occasional hiker. After all, as he said, “National Forest buildings belong to all of us.”

Diamond Lake, OR. July 2018.

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