Cal Fire seeks lookout attendants for Copernicus Peak

MOUNT HAMILTON, Calif. (KGO) -- In Santa Clara County, Cal Fire is looking for a few good men or women for a volunteer job. The requirements -- good eyesight, no aversion to heights, and driving skills.

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It's one of those roads for people who are either lost or determined -- narrow, winding, twisting, turning, frightening.
It goes on for miles up Mount Hamilton, past the Lick Observatory, then by foot even higher to a tiny box perched atop a water tower 4,285 feet above sea level.

It even has a name: Copernicus Peak Fire Lookout.

This is where Cal Fire says it needs volunteers to staff Copernicus this summer -- people committed to stopping fires, who don't mind solitude and heights.

"In fact, you can see San Francisco on a clear day," said Cal Fire's John Whiteside.

Volunteers will work in pairs, scanning the horizon every 15 minutes with binoculars.

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Then, using tried and true Osborne Fire Finder to pinpoint smoke, they will teach you how to use it.
There is history near Copernicus. This place harkens back to a time before cellphones. It used to be part of a network of 600 lookouts across the state, all within sight of each other.

When asked if he lamented the loss of that network Whiteside said, "Not now. Everyone has a cellphone."

If this sounds appealing, Cal Fire would love to hear from you. Sure the place is small and spartan, but big on history -- and not without at least one creature comforts.

"We are going to have a microwave to make popcorn in the afternoons," said Whiteside. "It's really good around three o'clock."

And at 4,285 feet, it's looking good 24-seven.

Click here if you'd like to volunteer.
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