You can get a beautiful view of the Missoula Valley and its surrounding areas when you're sitting at almost 7,000 feet. But for Eugene Miller, that view comes with great responsibility.
Miller can see a part of Montana's heart, most of us never will.
He calls a 50 foot tall fire tower on the top of Blue Mountain, his summer home, though it’s anything but a vacation.
He's looks for forest fires, any starts, so he can warn folks below of any flames that could be headed their way.
“A big part of the job is reporting what fires are doing, and reporting them it they haven't been sighted before,” Miller said.
He's spotted plenty.
“I got up one morning and I could see 11, large fires in every direction I looked.”
Miller's been sighting fires from his lookout for decades. He learned how to do his job with the same tools he uses today, 37 years ago.
And the tools aren't the only history in the lookout. Miller has books upon books of visitor logs. People from as far back as the 60's and as far away as China. “We’ve got California, Russia, China…”
Strangers who've left their mark to keep Eugene company.
“I get more visitors here than I ever get at home,” he said. “This is the place to be.”
And he's always got a story for his company. Like the time nature's fury came just a little too close.
“The smoke was getting very severe. I couldn't see the ground. And I told them…I do not feel comfortable up here and I'm leaving,” he said.
In reality it could take a lot to burn down the outlook. Built in wood, but coated in a fire resistant concrete substance. Miller’s always felt safe enough to stick out the heat.
But it’s not hard to understand when he can see from Thompson Falls to Anaconda and from the Idaho state line to Seeley.