Extreme Fire Danger Sparks Cal Fire to Staff Historic Lookout Tower at Mount Hamilton - NBC Bay Area
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Extreme Fire Danger Sparks Cal Fire to Staff Historic Lookout Tower at Mount Hamilton

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    Cal Fire staffed its historic Copernicus Peak Fire Lookout tower Friday for the first time this season due to the extreme fire danger and possible lightning in the forecast. Robert Handa reports. (Published Friday, June 26, 2015)

    Cal Fire staffed its historic Copernicus Peak Fire Lookout tower Friday for the first time this season due to the extreme fire danger and possible lightning in the forecast.

    NBC Bay Area was there as Cal Fire volunteers Guy Martin and Wayne Rhoten opened the tower, which sits 4400 feet up above Mount Hamilton and has a view that stretches over and beyond the Bay Area.

    Martin says it feels special to be part of a traditional forest fighting but they are focused on their job.

    "We're looking for smoke sightings and we're just trying to make sure if we see that we get a bead on it with our 'fire finder' instrument" said Martin,"we call over to the Morgan Hill Command Center so they can Marshall resources and other types of resources to deal with it,"

    Rhoten says human eyes help because they focus and scan faster than cameras.

    He says he concentrates on his job but takes a moment now and then to enjoy the unique circumstances.

    "I'm King of the world up here " he says with a smile, "higher than anyone in the entire Bay Area. Higher than Mount Hamilton. Higher than Mount Diablo. And I do carry on the tradition."

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