Bear Mountain Lookout Tower stays active during summer months

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It's a 16 mile drive to the Bear Mountain Lookout outside of Custer... but once you get up to the Bear Mountain Lookout tower there's a lot going on.
Weisert says, "A typical day I come up, we take weather observations which we give those to our dispatch in the morning, we find out what the fire danger is and what kind of weather we're expecting and I gotta listen to this."
Weisert has been working at the Bear Mountain Lookout since 2011 and she says it's never a dull day. Whether it's having visitors stop by to check out the 30 foot tower or seeing signs of smoke out in the horizons, she keeps very busy.
Weisert says the furthest smoke she's seen was about 47 miles away.
Weisert says, "When I first see a smoke I need to make sure that it is a smoke and then I find it on my fire finder and narrow down where it is and let them know when I'm seeing it what kind of smoke it is, what it looks like and go from there and then try and coordinate with another lookout."
She said that last summer alone 1500 people came up the tower.
The Bear Mountain Lookout is on the third highest point in the Black Hills and Colleen works from 9 to 5:30 in the summer months at an elevation of 7,166 feet.
The small tower is fully loaded with a small bunk bed, a stove, a microwave, a fridge, and all of the equipment needed to spot fires.
When you ask this forestry technician lookout if she ever gets bored she laughs,
Weisert says, "I love it, I mean I have the best office in the world... in the winter I work in a basement office, this is completely opposite from that."