Saturday, March 25, 2023

Thacker Mountain Fire Tower’s Days Are Numbered

The Lafayette County Fire Tower. Photo by Matt Nichols

The days of the Thacker Mountain Fire Tower being a part of Lafayette County’s landscape are coming to an end.

Due to its age and condition, the Lafayette County Board of Supervisors, at the recommendation of several county departments, has determined the tower needs to come down.

Supervisor and Board President Mike Roberts said he hates to see it go.

“I know for safety concerns, discussions about this have been ongoing, although I hate to see it torn down,” Roberts said. “I understand from liability purposes there is no way to police it or monitor it in an effective way.

Roberts said the Board is being diligent in trying to preserve the safety of anyone who would try to climb it.”

In April, the county advertised for quotes from construction companies to take the tower down.

County Administrator Lisa Carwyle said on Monday during the Board’s regular meeting that the county only received one bid for about $18,000.

The Board voted to reject the bid and re-advertise in hopes of getting more than one bid submitted.

“It lives on,” Roberts said with a chuckle after the vote.

While he would rather see the tower restored and preserved, he said he has no plans on fighting it being taken down, knowing it’s a safety risk.

The tower was used by the Department of Forestry to locate forest fires and was also used locally to hold the radios used to communicate with fire stations and other emergency response agencies.

“Another tower has been built beside it that holds those transmitters now,” said Steve Quarles, Emergency Management Director for Lafayette County.