North Carolina Forestry Service



Early forms of forest fire protection in Wake County:

  • Civilian Conservation Corps, 1933-1942 (national years of operation)
  • Holly Springs farmers form volunteer forest firefighting group, 1943

Early fire towers in Wake County:

  • Bay Leaf
    1936 - Lease recorded
    West side of Six Forks Road, approx. 0.5 miles North of  “Six Forks”, now Strickland Road intersection, approx. 8 miles north of Raleigh, high ground between Baileywick Rd and Six Forks Rd
    1937 - 99’-9” Aermotor steel tower erected

    1967 - New tower site purchased
    SR 1828 now Howard Road, approx 650 feet West of NC Hwy 50, Creedmor Road, approx. 3 miles north of Hwy 70
    1968 - 99’-9” Aermotor steel tower re-erected on new site
    1985 - Last year tower was manned.

    Jenny Tilley was the long-time operator of the Bay Leaf Tower. In the June 27, 1988, edition of the Raleigh Times, Ms. Tilley was listed as the secretary of Wake County Ranger Albert Coley, a position started three years earlier, when she ended her work as fire watcher.
  • Knightdale
    1938 - Tower site acquired from Meredith College trustees.
    Southside Place, east side of Hester Street, approx 1800 feet south of railroad property, and extending to Sallinger Street.
    1938 - 120’ International-Stacey steel tower erected
    1971 - House and site sold
    1972 - Tower removed, for storage in Clayton and subsequent relocation to South Mills, Pasquotank County
  • Apex
    1940 - Original Tower Site, 100 ft wood tower erected, Greason Mfg Co. Oak Grove Primitive Baptist Church Crossroads, approx 770 feet W of crossroads, (Approx 4 miles east from Apex)
    1951 - Lease filed for new tower site
    Swift Creek Church-Apex Road approx 1200 feet SE of intersection with Apex-McCullers Road, approx. 2.5 miles SE of Apex
    1951 - 99’-9” Aermotor steel tower erected
    1981 - Last year tower was manned
    1986 - Site reverted to owner, tower sold

Historical notes:

  • Staff in February 1994:
    • Wake County Ranger Albert B. Coley - Call # 11-90
    • Asst. Ranger Jerry Duke - Call # 11-91
    • Asst. Ranger Alton Perry - Call #11-92
    • Vacant position for equipment operator - Call #11-95
    • [Former] Tower Operator Jenny Tilley
  • In December 1995, Alton Perry was named the new county ranger.

Present Forestry Service facilities in Wake County:

  • Fire Tower on Howard Road, no longer used
  • Ranger house and equipment shed at same location.  House used as private residence
  • Administrative offices at Wake County Office Complex on Carya Drive


  • ncfs North Carolina Forest Service
  • oh Oral history

Last updated: January 28, 2017


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