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The Maryland's Forest Fire Lookout Towers poster was created by the University of Maryland to showcase the history of the forest fire tower system that began in 1915 and stretched across the state. These towers served as a communication network to protect against woodland forest fires that damaged property and endangered lives. Some of these towers have been determined eligible for the National Register of Historic Places, or have been included in the National Historic Lookout Register.
The project was initiated because the University owned Burtonsville Fire Tower, which was built in 1926, but was later moved to a site along Columbia Pike (US Route 29), was proposed to be demolished. The tower had deteriorated and its use for communications was no longer needed.
Since it was deemed eligible for the National Register, the Maryland Historical Trust required mitigation for its removal. In order to proceed with the demolition the University with the input of many others, including staff from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR), the Committee for Maryland Conservation History, and Barbara Garner, who wrote the book A View from the Top, Maryland's Fire Towers, developed the poster.
The tower was demolished in 2014 and the posters have been distributed around the state to DNR land units that have existing tower locations so that visitors can appreciate the significant history of these structures.
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