I’d like to voice myself. On July 13, 4:30 to 5:00, we had an active lightning cell coming over the Monument area, heading north of the Top area. Two of the lookouts announced they were leaving this lookout to go back to Heppner. We have no state lookout in our area that can cover us.

Well, I’m upset. I worked for 20 years for the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF), was on every lookout in Grant, Wheeler and Crook counties. When you had an active storm, you called dispatch or your supervisor, and he would have you stay in the lookout till 21:00 or later. Also, any lightning strikes were marked on windows and the next day you watched these areas closely. I would like to know why we lose protection right when an active storm comes in.

What’s wrong with your people? It’s like a fire gets started, you’re proud that it burns 3 or 4 thousand acres plus. When we use to have fires, the ranchers would watch and were on them with gunnysacks and shovels and have the fires out. Now, with all the equipment and manpower you can’t put one out.

I know for a fact we had a fire here on Dustin Point south of Monument, two ranchers had the fire all but out. The State drove up, sat, wrote and called on the radio instead of getting out and working the fires and it blew up and burned several acres. These pumpers had water; why weren’t they out putting water as soon as they drove up? I’ve seen so much of this the last few years and it’s our money you’re spending. I would like to see our state lookout back up here, but it will never happen. They say it costs too much to run them. Well, they can’t cost as much as it does now, plus any homes and all are in danger.

I’m voicing myself as I’ve heard from so many people that feel the same way as I do. Remember, it’s our tax money you’re spending.

Darlene J. Forrest


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