Alpine fire only the beginning |

Alpine fire only the beginning

A conflagration somewhere in eastern Alpine County is usually the precursor to Carson Valley’s fire seasons.

That this year it waited until the middle of July is a testament to the wet winter that just passed.

But warm temperatures and drying winds have turned grasses along the Sierra Front to tinder, just waiting for a spark.

An 1,100-acre wildfire that threatened Spanish Springs over the weekend showed what can happen.

Fortunately, firefighters are able to muster the numbers to fight these early blazes to a standstill.

But as the summer continues, that will begin to be more and more difficult as the number of fires starts to increase.

We’ve only seen two red-flag warnings for extreme fire danger so far this summer, and it seems that when they are in effect people are extra careful.

But the real danger is when fire safety is not top of mind. We hope people are smart enough not to set a campfire in these conditions, but as we saw with Spanish Springs, ignition doesn’t require an actual flame.

Two target shooters allegedly began that fire. We’ve already seen grinder sparks ignite the grass over in the East Valley. Something as unexpected as a hot exhaust could be sufficient to start a major fire.

NV Energy has been conducting public meetings about its new public safety management outage program designed to keep power lines from sparking a blaze, which is what allegedly happened in Paradise, Calif., with the Camp Fire.

No matter how careful we are there will be fires, thanks to natural phenomenon such as lighting. But at least those fires announce themselves with a flash of light.

If you’re out in the wilderness avoid creating sparks. If you live near the wildland, or even an unkept field, be prepared for a wildfire.