The fire look out trees of the South West

A fire look out provides shelter for a person whose job it is to search for fires in the wilderness. In the South West the look outs were built high at the top of trees throughout the jarrah and karri forests.

Three of these look outs are tourist attractions these days. The Diamond Tree is located a few kilometres south of Manjimup. A wooden cabin was built at the top of this 51 metre karri tree. It was used from 1941 to 1974.

If you are brave enough to climb the spiral steps to the top, you will be amazed at the vast area the person in the look out had to survey. You can even see Yeagerup Dunes from up there and that is 40km away!

One also get an idea of just what it must have taken to stand there hour after endless hour keeping watch. The fire lookouts fell into disuse in 1972 when planes took over the job of fire surveillance. As you can imagine, the one draw back that planes have, is that they can’t be in the air all the time. From 1994 fire lookouts once again play a role in protecting the forests.

The second of the trio of look outs open to the public is the 61m tall Gloucester Tree. It was pegged in 1946. What make this tree different from the others are the native birds that flock to the base of the tree looking for a feed. It is located inside the Gloucester National Park.

The Dave Evans Bicentennial Tree is the tallest climbable karri tree look out at 70m. There is a platform half way to rest the legs. A brave soul actually counted the metal spikes to the top – 130! Also keep in mind that the tree sways heavily (up to 1.5m) in the wind as you ascend.

Who would have thought that climbing a tree could be classified as an adventure … or in some cases an activity that can take up the better part of the day! Go climb a tree and let us know about it. More photos.