PI Editorial: It might be early in the warm season, but wildfire risk is real | PostIndependent.com

PI Editorial: It might be early in the warm season, but wildfire risk is real

Post Independent Editorial Board

Colorado is experiencing an early, breezy start to wildfire season.

While most of the larger fires have occurred on the Front Range so far, we’ve already seen a handful of small blazes in and around Garfield County. Glenwood Canyon, the Crystal River Canyon and west of Parachute all experienced small fires over the past week.

Quick work by good Samaritans, firefighters and other first responders meant none of these grew into anything significant, but they should serve as a stark reminder of the danger fire poses — even this early in the warm weather season.

It’s also something we should keep in mind as we enjoy the West’s great outdoors this summer. The Front Range has experienced numerous fires already this season, and New Mexico is now battling the largest blaze in state history with the Calf Camp Fire/Hermit’s Peak Fire. Although there are no Garfield County fire restrictions or bans in place yet, we wouldn’t be surprised if our county and much of the West ends up under fire restrictions in the weeks and months to come.

The good news is that nature offers plenty to enjoy even if you can’t or shouldn’t have a campfire on your outing. We’d suggest stargazing or just sitting and taking in all the night sounds around you. The woods or high desert is never as quiet as you might think, and there’s comfort to be found in listening to the flora and fauna go about their days.

But even if you don’t plan to have a campfire, bring at least a bucket and shovel along. That way you’ll be able to take care of any smoldering fire rings or the like while you’re out adventuring.

Practice fire preparedness at home as well. Have medications and important documents in an easy-to-access place so you can grab them and go if needed. Also have an evacuation plan that you and your family or housemates have agreed upon and all know. That will help keep all of you safe and in communication in the event of an emergency evacuation.

Fire risk is ever-present in our dry seasons, but it doesn’t mean we have to live in constant fear. Planning, common sense and erring on the side of caution will go a long ways toward helping us continue to enjoy and appreciate the West, even in the face of fire potential.

The Post Independent editorial board members are Editor Peter Baumann, Managing Editor/Senior Reporter John Stroud, and community representatives Mark Fishbein and Danielle Becker.

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