1920's - 1930's
As early as the late 1800's, observation posts (fire towers) were constructed so that
observers could spot smoke early and try to locate fires while still small.
This tower was and still is located in Wellfleet.
The Falmouth Fire Tower was constructed in 1914.
Barnstable Fire Tower on Shootflying Hill
Shootflying Hill in 1920
This fire tower in West Barnstable oversees much of the mid Cape
area. It is located along Route 6. The trees are all grown up now.
The Barnstable Fire Tower in 1992.
Inside the fire tower is a centrally located map. Observers simply get a line
on the smoke and by crossing lines from two or more towers, the fire can
be located and communicated to fire fighters.
Wellfleet Fire Tower
Sandwich Fire Tower, like most of the others, have become more
cell phone and radio towers than fire observation towers in
recent years. This is somewhat poetic since the invention of the
cell phone had greatly improved the ability of the public to call in fires
early from their cars.
Another example of modern technology competing with the need for fire towers.
Bourne Fire Tower.
Brewster Fire Tower
Map display of Massachusetts fire towers in 1913
Locating and observing brush fires is key to extinguishing them before they get too large.
Barnstable County owned and operated a Fire Patrol airplane (P-18) for many years.
It could relay information on the size and movement of the fire to chiefs on the ground.
P-18 with pilot John Lemos and fire warden Robert Dottridge.
CAPE COD BRUSH BREAKERS
More Pages of Brush Breakers
|Page 1 - 1920s - 1930s - First Brush Breaker|
|Page 2 - 1920s - 1930s - Forest Fires / Memorial|
|Page 3 - 1920s - 1930s - Fire Towers / Patrol Plane|
|Page 4 - 1930s - Early Brush Trucks / Breakers|
|Page 5 - 1930s - 1950s - First County Brush Breakers|
|Page 6 - 1940s - 1950 - Early Brush Breakers|
|Page 7 - 1950s - Second Generation Brush Breaker|
|Page 8 - 1950s - Brush Trucks|
|Page 9 - 1950s - 1960s - Second County Brush Breakers|
|Page 10 - 1950s - 1970s - Breakers and Patrol Trucks|
|Page 11 - 1960s - Brush Trucks and Fires|
|Page 12 - 1960s - Fires and Brush Breakers|
|Page 13 - 1960s - 1970s - Third Generation Breaker|
|Page 14 - 1970s - County & Town Brush Breakers|
|Page 15 - 1970s - 1980s - Brush Breakers & Tankers|
|Page 16 - 1980s - Breakers & Fires|
|Page 17 - 1990s - Brush and Forestry Trucks|
|Page 18 - 1990s - Brush and Forestry Trucks|
|Page 19 - 1990s - State Forest Fire Apparatus|
|Page 20 - 1990s - 2000s - Brush Breakers|
|Page 21 - 2000s - Breakers and Tankers|
|Page 22 - 2000s - Brush Breakers & Tankers|
|Page 23 - 2000s - Newest Breakers|
|Page 24 - 2000s - 2005 Brush Season|
|Page 25 - 2000s - 2006 Brush Breakers|
|Page 26 - 2000s - 2007 Brush Breaker Training|
|Page 27 - 2000s - 2008 Tankers & Forestry Units|
|Page 28 - 2000s - 2009 Breakers|
|Page 29 - 2010s - 2010 Brush & Forestry Units|
Massachusetts DCR - Bureau of Forest
Forest Fire Lookout Association
History Early Fire Towers
Massachusetts Fire Tower Locations
CCFD.com - Plymouth Brush Breaker Drill April 2006
CCFD.com - Plymouth-Wareham Brush Fires May 2006
CCFD.com - Sandwich Fire Tower 2006
Photos in this series are from various sources
including fire department and personal collections.