Don’t play with fire |

Don’t play with fire

The Summit County Commissioners and Sheriff Joe Morales this week ordered fire restrictions for this summer, and we want to emphasize how important compliance is.

It’s almost a rite of passage, drought or no drought. When the summer dry season hits, the county commissioners and the sheriff institute fire restrictions, if not an outright ban of open flames.

For now, fires may only occur in permanent fire pits or grates at private residences, or in improved campgrounds. Charcoal or gas grills are fine.

Summit County is overdue for a catastrophic wildfire. We have long been protected by our high elevation and good firefighting efforts, but time is not on our side.

Efforts are under way in parts of the county to reduce fuel loads and cut the risk of wildfire spreading out of control. We commend those who are taking the initiative.

Meanwhile, much responsibility rests with Summit County residents and visitors to be smart about their surroundings and obey the fire restrictions. Nobody wants a dumb human act to light the fuse of catastrophe. The natural risks of lightning strikes are bad enough.

Last year, somebody was not so smart and started a wildfire on the hills alongside Dillon Reservoir, overlooking Silverthorne. Fortunately, good response by firefighters and National Forest slurry planes quelled that outbreak.

Today, fires are raging across the West and in nearby counties. Firefighting resources are spread thinly.

We ask that our citizens and visitors be our first line of fire defense and obey the law.

Opinions published in this space are formulated by members of the Summit Daily News editorial board: Michael Bennett, Jim Pokrandt, Abigail Eagye, Rachel Toth, Reid Williams, Aidan Leonard, Shauna Farnell and Martha Lunsky.

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