National Geographic : 1946 Jul
Forest Lookout Ray M. Filloon Student Smoke-eaters Put Out Practice Fires These fire fighters learn their trade at a school in the Umatilla National Forest, Oregon. They wield the Pulaski, a combination ax and hoe designed by Edward Pulaski, hero of the disastrous Idaho blaze of 1910 (Plate VIII). By constant research and use of new methods, Federal and State agencies strive to reduce the 200,000 fires which annually burn over about 31,000,000 acres of forest land in the United States. seven of them are seen from this lookout. My own count on my firefinder map tells me that within a radius of 20 miles from McGregor are at least 62 peaks above 7,000 feet in altitude. I say "at least" because an old-timer in the forest and in the Service tells me that this area has never been mapped in detail. I have climbed or ridden horseback in the Lake Louise country of the Canadian Rockies, in Glacier National Park, up to 7,500 feet on Mount Rainier, along the Cascade Crest Trail in the Mount Adams country, in the Olympics of western Washington, in the Wallowas of eastern Oregon, and in Yosemite, and I have driven through the Swiss Alps. But I have never seen such rugged country as this. SAges ago, glaciers cut and carved the great plateau which was the original Cascade Range, and the rivers and creeks which travel down the gorges made by the great ice streams have continued to cut and carve for many centuries. It is easy to believe the statement of the late Henry Gannett, formerly chief geographer for the U. S. Geological Survey and President of the National Geographic Society from 1910 to 1914: "Of the many ice-cut gorges of the [Cascade] Range, that of Lake Chelan and its tributaries is probably the finest." Ravaged Slopes Record Fire Tragedies I should be unfaithful to my trust if I left the impression that looking out from a lookout brings one into contact with only beauty and grandeur. Facing me, above Agnes Creek on the right, is a slope bare and denuded except where Nature has tried to heal the ravages of fire. On my way to Agnes Gorge I passed through part of that graveyard of the forest, and I was grieved by the charred remains of what was once a beautiful and valuable piece of virgin timber.