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A Day in the Life of a Fire Lookout

A Day in the Life of a Fire Lookout

Gary Yost (Member 56,542) made a film of the daily life of a volunteer Fire Lookout up on the summit of Mount Tamalpais in Marin County, California, US. In wildfire-prone regions like the Pacific Northwest of America, volunteer Fire Lookouts save lives. Up in a lookout tower it is solitary and quiet as you scan the horizon on the lookout for the first signs of wildfire smoke. A location like this one, just north of San Francisco, means the day can also be filled with stunning cloudspotting opportunities. In his short film, Gary captured the calm beauty of the cloudscapes below as undulations of Stratus slowly lapped against the foothills as advection fog drifted in from the Pacific.

See more from filmmaker and software designer Gary Yost at

  • Denise Waterbury avatar

    Denise Waterbury

    August 31, 2021 at 8:01 pm

    I love this short video. I had a friend who was a fire lookout on Mt Harkness in the southeast corner of Lassen National Park at 8,046 ft. Elevation. He stayed there for days at a time. Visited him and learned so much! The vistas there on a clear day were incredible. He loved the lifestyle being the hermit of the mountains he was.
    I grew up in the Bay Area and have been to Mt Tamalpais several times, but never to the lookout. It’s amazing how busy it is there these days. I left there in 1974 and live in the eastern Sierra now where the pace is much slower.
    The photography in this video is wonderful! Love seeing the clouds/fog come and go and watching the stars and milky way move across the sky. Thanks for sharing!

  • Ruth Richardson avatar


    September 1, 2021 at 12:25 am

    Absolutely lovely film.
    But for me, better with the music switched off. If I was up there, I would relish the sound of the wind and the trees, not crave that terrible music! The clouds and the stars are wondrous enough, and simply do not need distracting and ultimately boring repetitive ‘musical’ accompaniment. For me, this type of music pollutes nature. Why not give us Nature’s sound-track?

  • Heather Prince avatar

    Heather Prince

    September 3, 2021 at 2:45 am

    What a wonderful video. A real treat. And what a job to have!

  • Lisa Kent avatar

    Lisa Kent

    September 4, 2021 at 5:52 pm

    What a beautifully produced video! I thoroughly enjoyed it. (I also found it interesting how Mt Tamalpais was misspelled on the paper form he was filling out…it said Mt Tamalpias!)

  • Tina Shurtz avatar


    September 5, 2021 at 12:17 am

    This film was fabulous. You picked the perfect music for the cloud movement. The time-lapse was incredible. Thank you for sharing.

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