Volunteers crtiical in firestorm | RecordCourier.com

Volunteers crtiical in firestorm

RC Editorial Board

There are a few places in Douglas County that could be likened to the town of Paradise except perhaps in scale.

We've watched blazes burn down to the boundaries of Pine View Estates, through Topaz Ranch.

After the big Aspen fire that struck in 1996, even more homes were built into the forest and interface and into places where it was more and more difficult to defend them.

In the meantime our fire services were weakened by an aging population running up against more stringent regulations.

Scientific research has shown there aren't substantially more fires than there have been in the past, but that they are doing more damage to land and property.

The theory is that there are more people moving into the wilderness. That seems to be true, with high-end developments like Clear and Jobs Peak selling lots in the most exclusive neighborhoods in the Valley.

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But it's also true that there are portions of the county like Bodie Flat and Topaz Ranch Estates where people can find an affordable place to live that also puts them in danger.

A century ago, county commissioners imposed measures for public safety during the Great Influenza epidemic. Perhaps it's time to take leadership and insist people establish defensible space around their homes and provide some form of firefighting water.

Our real resource, however, comes not from the government but our people. Volunteers have kept Douglas safe since the days of its founding, and volunteers will be the best solution to preserving our neighborhoods in the threat of fire.