2024 New Volunteer Application

Step 2: What to Expect

Please read the “What to Expect” letter from our President.

February 7, 2024

To: Potential Fire Lookout Volunteers

From: Valerie Hanich, ANFFLA President

Thank you for your interest in becoming a volunteer fire lookout with the Angeles National Forest Fire Lookout Association (ANFFLA). You are receiving this email because you have expressed interest in becoming a Fire Lookout Volunteer on the Angeles National Forest and San Gabriel Mountains National Monument.

What You Can Expect

We know that you will enjoy this opportunity to serve the community and local fire agencies in helping to prevent devastating wildfires like we have experienced in recent years. In addition, you will host and educate visitors that come to the lookouts.

Fire Lookout volunteers are committed to preserving the historic fire lookouts and protecting the natural environment through fire detection and environmental education. Volunteers are dedicated to providing a knowledgeable and enjoyable experience to the community. They strive to increase the public’s awareness of its role in conservation of the natural and historic environment of the Forest.

What is Expected of You

Becoming a fire lookout is an enchanting and rewarding undertaking. However, it is not a position to be taken lightly. This quote from our Training Objectives underlines the importance of our role in protecting the Forest.

Our primary objective . . . is to provide timely and accurate information to fire-fighting resources in the areas of fire detection, weather conditions, and communications and greeting visitors warmly, and providing general forest information.

Our lookout volunteers must be professional, reliable, attentive and most importantly, trustworthy as they may have a larger perspective of the fire environment, and how incoming weather might impact it and the safety of personnel in the field.

ANFFLA volunteers are expected to work, at a minimum, an average of one shift per month during fire season (usually 7 shifts). A shift consists of 8 1/2 hours in-service in the lookout which can be done in one day or two 4 1/2 hour shifts in one month.  The minimum required hours in-service for the season in order to maintain your status as a qualified fire lookout is 40 hours.

The Lookouts

ANFFLA volunteers staff two fire lookout towers on the Angeles National Forest and San Gabriel Mountains National Monument. Vetter Mountain Lookout is accessed by Forest Service dirt road that is passable by most cars.  Slide Mountain Lookout is at an elevation of 4,631 and is a hike of 3-miles (if you have a 4×4 vehicle) or 4-miles (with other cars) to reach.  Both of the lookouts have a porta-potty or vault toilet and no running water.  You choose the lookout at which you would like to volunteer. We do not choose for you.


In-person training is mandatory for all new volunteers.  You must commit to about 7 hours of classroom training where you will learn the basics of being a fire lookout.  After that, you must complete an In-Tower Training (ITT) which is a full shift (9 hours) in the tower of your choice with an In-Tower Trainer.  Once your ITT is complete and your Trainer certifies that you are qualified to work alone you will be able to schedule shifts at the tower where you completed your ITT. Classroom training for the 2024 season is scheduled for the second half of March. Availability is limited!


Uniforms are required – your shirt can be a short sleeve or long sleeve polo shirt with our logo and your pants must be a blue, green or khaki.  Volunteers are responsible to purchase their own uniforms after completing training through a limited time online store.  The minimum uniform package includes a uniform shirt  and name badge, which will cost approximately $40.00 plus sales tax and shipping.

All new volunteers will pay a $50 fee at the time of registration which will cover the cost of training materials and will include a $40 deposit towards your uniform.  The deposit is non-refundable and any deposits not used towards uniforms will be added to ANFFLA’s general funds. 

Other expenses associated with volunteering include transportation, food, water and other incidentals.  All of these expenses are the responsibility of the volunteer and are not reimbursable by ANFFLA or the US Forest Service.

This may all sound daunting, but becoming a Fire Lookout Volunteer is not as challenging as it may appear! Being a Fire Lookout Volunteer is a fulfilling (and at times exciting) experience, and the satisfaction of being an important part of the Angeles National Forest fire detection team is well worth the expense and effort of training.

We hope that you will join us for this upcoming season!


Valerie Hanich
Angeles National Forest Fire Lookout Association