Putting fires in perspective | RecordCourier.com

Putting fires in perspective

Eleven of the 13 large fires burning in the continental United States on Monday morning were located in Northern California.

According to the National Interagency Coordination Center Situation Report, the Golden State has been subject to 3,909 wildfires that have consumed 670,230 acres so far this year. About a third of that, nearly 213,000 acres, was burned in the last week or so.

As of Monday, 40 people have been killed and 5,500 structures have been lost in the fires that have so far cost more than $76 million to extinguish.

To put the loss in perspective, there are only 5,662 homes in the entire 89460 Zip code, which includes the Gardnerville Ranchos.

Researchers have determined there's nothing to spark a big fire season than a wet winter.

One or two good winters aren't enough to help the trees, while they are more than sufficient to raise a crop of cheat and other grasses.

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As we saw with the Slinkard and Cutter fires, it didn't take much to set the mountains on fire. While we're due for some much-needed moisture this week, October is rarely wet enough to reduce the fire danger substantially.

Fire officials have been saying for years that the concept of fire season has been rendered obsolete. We've had raging wildfires throughout the year. It pays to be prepared to move fast when the flames threaten.