A new book in Arcadia Publishing’s popular Images of America series, “Fire Lookouts of Glacier National Park,” includes more than 200 vintage images and memories of high points atop mountain peaks in the Glacier National Park region.
Authored by David R. Butler, the book offers a look at the history and geography of the historic fire lookouts of Glacier National Park and surrounding areas in northwest Montana. Widespread fires in the 1910s and 1920s led to the construction of more permanent lookouts, first as wooden pole structures and subsequently as a variety of one- and two-story cabin designs. Cooperating lookouts in Glacier Park, the Flathead National Forest, and the Blackfeet Indian Reservation provided coverage of forests throughout Glacier National Park.
In the park, the onset of aerial observations in 1954 sounded the death knell for many of the park’s fire lookouts, and many were subsequently razed or removed. Today, nine fire lookouts remain there, four or five of which are regularly manned during summer fire season.
Through this pictoral history of the rise and fall of the extensive fire lookout network, Dr. Butler hopes to preserve and honor these unique landmarks.
The book provides the only available history of the fire lookouts network that protected Glacier Park and surrounding areas, and also describes how the park’s fire protection policies have changed and evolved over time.
Author David R. Butler is the Texas State University System Regents’ Professor of Geography and a University Distinguished Professor at Texas State University in San Marcos, Texas. He was a red bus “Gearjammer” in Glacier Park in 1973 and 1974 and has conducted research there since 1975.
“Fire Lookouts of Glacier National Park”
By David R. Butler