PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – The Jackson County Sheriff’s Office is searching for two men who broke into a fire lookout tower near Prospect and stole Oregon Department of Forestry equipment. 

Investigators say the break-in occurred Sunday at around 12:45 p.m. 

The thieves entered the lookout and stole batteries and solar panels used to power the lookout tower’s fire detection camera. With these items stolen, the camera can’t operate. 

This leaves a hole in the camera network and takes away the opportunity for early fire detection. 

The ODF Southwest Oregon Detection Center is a system of cameras across Jackson and Josephine counties that monitor rural areas and help catch fires while they’re still small. They provide critical information to firefighters responding to incidents and allow the departments to use their resources more strategically, the sheriff’s office said. 

The tower that was burglarized enables early fire detection for the northeastern portion of Jackson County, near Prospect. 

ODF is working to get the camera system back up and running. 

Anyone who recognizes the suspects who were caught on camera or anyone with information about the theft should call the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office tip line at (541) 774-8333 and reference case #22-4725.