Fire Danger Poses Sobering Questions

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Fire restrictions? Already. That’s scary.

This week, the Forest Service banned campfires and other high-risk activities on millions of acres of Rim Country forests.

The restrictions came at the tail end of a bone-dry spring. We have had just half the normal rainfall since January in what feels increasingly like a return of the drought we so hoped would evaporate.

We urge you to not only abide by the restrictions, but to become the eyes and ears for the Forest Service and law enforcement agencies, trying to desperately to protect our vulnerable communities.

Computer models suggest that the hot, dry springs that have spurred an ever-earlier fire season in Rim Country are the result of the warming already measured. If those trends continue as predicted in the next few decades, even the monsoon season could diminish or disappear.

Make no mistake — even without taking those climate shifts into account — wildfire remains the single greatest threat to Rim Country. A century of mismanagement of the forest has turned millions of acres into fire-prone thickets. The current effort to reinvent the timber industry to thin vast swaths of forest remains the single most important initiative when it comes to the future of the communities we so dearly love.

In the meantime, we have to survive one fire season at a time. So we must each become zealots about protecting the forest — and reporting to law enforcement and the Forest Service any violations of those fire restrictions.

So put those fires out — and keep your eyes out.

Our future depends on it.

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