Lookout Towers

Mount Howell Lookout

Mount HowellMt. Howell Fire Lookout sits adjacent to Interstate 80 in the community of Colfax. This historic fire lookout has a viewshed of Placer County and El Dorado County state resource areas as well as the Tahoe and El Dorado national forest lands.  

Today, a substantial radio, microwave and cellular communications site accompany the 60' lookout tower. Volunteers staff the lookout during peak fire season.  

This critical infrastructure was first built in 1930 and upgraded in the mid-1950s.

Banner Mountain Lookout

Banner Mountain Lookout is a 60’ lookout tower, a concrete radio vault with one 120’ antenna tower and a smaller Banner Mountainmetal vault with a 60’ radio tower, a 10,000- gallon water tank and a generator building.

The personnel working the tower have had the first report of smoke in the State Resource Area, along with several firsts in the federal resource area on the Plumas, El Dorado and Tahoe National Forests.

CAL FIRE facility records indicate the current tower was built in 1930-31.

Wolf Mountain

Wolf Mountain Fire Lookout

Wolf Mountain Fire Lookout is set atop Wolf Mountain in Nevada County. It is a critical location for fire detection with views into Yuba County, Western Nevada County, Placer and even Butte County.

Wolf Mountain has been staffed by volunteers in prevention for 17 years after paid staffing was discontinued in 2004.  Volunteers devote over 1,400 hours annually to staffing and maintaining Wolf Mountain Lookout.  

The volunteers have been responsible for numerous first reports of wildland fires through the years helping in detect and contain fires at initial attack status.

The lookout is a 30’ tall lookout tower first put into service in 1934.  In 1982, a more modern metal tower was installed as well as a 10,000-gallon water tank, radio vault and two 120’ antenna towers.