Daily Editorial: Playing with fire | VailDaily.com

Daily Editorial: Playing with fire

Vail Daily Editorial Board
Vail CO, Colorado

It’s an awesome power we hold in our hands, oftentimes without thinking. In summer, we head outdoors with all manner of combustibles in our hands from the cheap, plastic lighter that starts our grill to the gallons of charcoal starter or white gas that help fuel our enjoyment of the outdoors.

It’s a deadly combination, made even more so by the lack of rain and the number of dead trees in our forests. From the less than 10-acre blaze in Eagle last week to the tremendous wildland fire still burning in Utah, one doesn’t have to look hard to find evidence of how quickly a spark can turn into an inferno. Lightning does its share of ignition, but more often as not it’s a careless human: tossing away a cigarette butt, lighting fireworks amid dry brush or making a campfire and not following common-sense rules while doing so.

As anyone who’s spent time in the arid and semi-arid West knows, tiny fires can turn into colossal conflagrations that consume vast quantities of land, cost millions of dollars to battle, take years for the land to recover from, destroy homes and, worst of all, occasionally claim the lives of the men and women called upon to fight them.

We can wag our finger here, but the reality goes back to the old Smokey Bear message about personal responsibility. Chances are there isn’t going to be a fire chief or forest ranger on hand to chastise those who are rolling the dice with fire. It’s up to each one of us to reduce the likelihood of a devastating blaze by keeping a close eye on any flame within our own circle of influence. It’s looking to be a long, warm summer, so be careful out there.

” Alex Miller for the Editorial Board

Support Local Journalism