Inside a Wigwam

In my youth wigwam burners were a common sight along the backroads of the Pacific Northwest. Used to burn waste wood products from sawmills these free-standing conical steel structures ranged from 30 to 60 feet in height and were a source of continuous smoke and pollution. During the 70’s they began regulating them to the point that only a few remain today, mostly standing alone in an empty field near an abandoned sawmill. A rusted shell of steel standing tall against the mountain landscape, a faint remained of the loss of timber jobs that left this area long ago as US companies began shipping raw logs to China for processing.

It’s a fascinating experience wandering vacated commercial sites. I feel like an archeologist crawling around downed buildings and inside burned-out structures looking and exploring, digging into the fading history while cars and trucks in the distance speed past.

My intent today was simply to explore and observe. To see what still remained after time, federal regulations, and a changing global workforce had left behind in an overgrown field of rural Washington.