Our View: Please, don’t be stupid with sparks or fire in our dry valley (editorial)
This story has been corrected regarding the spelling of the Bocco fire.
Let’s start with this: It doesn’t matter how long you’ve lived here or how much time you’ve spent in the backcountry. You’re not the exception to the rule.
Since Saturday, June 9, a handful of wildfires have sparked here in Eagle County. Most were small. One, the Bocco fire just northwest of Wolcott, burned more than 415 acres. As of mid-day on Tuesday, June 12, the fire hadn’t grown, but was only about 50 percent contained.
All of these wildfires were human-caused. And, in these cases, all of these humans were being stupid. The stupidity ranged from the apparent inability to properly extinguish a campfire to the truly moronic decisions to use exploding targets at gun ranges.
Adding to the stupidity was the world-class idiot who decided to fly a drone over the Bocco fire. Air tankers can’t fly over fires when knuckleheads are getting video with their drones. That puts air and ground crews at even greater risk.
Officials hadn’t yet imposed fire restrictions in Eagle County when humans caused these fires. But anyone who didn’t just arrive from another planet surely knew that this area is dry as a potato chip right now. They also should have been aware that a “red flag” alert was issued for both days of the weekend.
Those alerts are issued when a combination of low humidity, strong winds and warm temperatures combine to make wildfires more likely and much more difficult to control. Ask anyone who worked on the Bocco fire whether or not those warnings are serious.
It shouldn’t take fire restrictions — now in place — for people to understand their surroundings. But that’s where we are.
Please, people, don’t be stupid. Understand your surroundings. Don’t do anything to make a scary situation worse. Anything that can make a spark — or putting a red-hot car exhaust on tinder-dry grass — is a potential disaster. And, for heaven’s sake, don’t fly your stupid drone over a wildfire.
Lives depend on this, folks. Please, don’t be stupid.
For more information about current fire conditions and restrictions, visit http://www.vaildaily.com.
The Vail Daily Editorial Board is Publisher Mark Wurzer, Editor Krista Driscoll and Business Editor Scott Miller.