Friday, March 20, 2009
I had intended to get a better picture of one of these, or specifically this one, but never got to it. Teepee burners were once commonplace in the wood-milling towns of this region, and this is one of the last still standing that I know about, at the Wagenet mill here in Willits. Their function was to incinerate the sawdust, trimmings and slash wood left over from the process of milling logs into cut lumber. The dome-shaped cap on the top is a screen to catch any floating embers from getting out and igniting outside fires. I remember as a little kid, traveling in the car at night through Healdsburg and Ukiah as we came up to Mendocino to visit my grandfather, seeing those dome tops glowing orange with the heat from the wood fires inside. But that was back in the 1960s, and since then there has been far greater awareness of air quality and the effects of all that smoke on health.