An increase in forest fires in the early twentieth century led New York State to implement a fire detection system in the Adirondack Mountains. Peter Slocum’s article, View from Hurricane Mountain, details the development of this early detection system and its impact on the Adirondack Region. By reading this article, students will learn about the ways people attempted to minimize the destruction of these fires and control their environment.
Click on the image above to access the View from Hurricane Mountain article.
This resource includes supporting questions to guide students in the reading of the article and analysis questions for understanding the primary sources. All educational materials are aligned to the New York State Social Studies Framework. The learning objectives are taken directly from the Social Studies Practices and the content fits within the framework.
Setting the Stage
Show one of these videos from pbslearningmedia.org and discuss the role of fire in the ecosystem of a forest
Grades 6-12 https://ny.pbslearningmedia.org/resource/384080e7-c69e-4f0b-90d9-4bd65bf0d852/384080e7-c69e-4f0b-90d9-4bd65bf0d852/
Grades 3-8 https://ny.pbslearningmedia.org/resource/5d07636f-f075-4544-b396-0f53549c3186/prescribed-fire-georgia-forests/
Grades K-6 https://ny.pbslearningmedia.org/resource/idptv11.sci.ess.earthsys.d4kwfir/wildfire/
Guided Reading Questions
1. What was Milo Bronson’s job?
2. What happened to Milo Bronson in August of 1919?
3. Why was fire a threat in the early 1900s?
4. How were forest fires detected in the early 1900s?
5. What effect did this detection system have?
6. Why were towers built on the mountains?
7. What efforts were required to place the towers on the mountains?
8. How did the job of fire spotter change throughout the 20th century?
9. Why were many of the fire towers removed?
10. Why did the fire tower on Hurricane Mountain become a topic of controversy?
11. How was the controversy resolved?
12. How has the continued presence of the tower on Hurricane Mountain presented a new challenge for the Adirondacks?
Document Analysis Questions
1. What materials were needed to build this structure?
2. Why was this structure built?
3. In what type of environment was this structure built?
4. How might this structure affect the surrounding environment?