Summer lightning knifes the forests in the dry wilderness of Northeast Oregon. It smolders in roots for hours, days, a week — then pops: a flame.
In the Pacific Northwest, wildfire season bears down in July. Now a Baltimore County man who owns a cattle ranch in Oregon has revived a bygone tradition to defend his property.
Tim Roberts, who lives in Sparks, hired Maryland cabinetmakers to build a replica 1930s fire lookout tower. He hauled the cabin across the country in a 26-foot Penske truck. Now he's raising it four stories by crane, to look mountaintops in the eye and spot smoke.
"When you light a match, the fire's almost doubling in size every second,"...