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Firefighters deserve our thanks

It has been seven years since we’ve seen a big fire in the Pine Nut Mountains.

With the Numbers Fire estimated at 18,000 acres, it is the second largest fire in Douglas County history, topping the 16,600 acres burned in the 1984 Indian Creek Fire.

The last really big Pine Nut blaze was the 24,136-acre Bison fire, set by lightning on July 4, 2013.

For those who lived here then, the Pine Nut volcano would go off every summer, sending huge smoke plumes into the stratosphere.

Every year, people would ask “what’s left to burn?” and every year the flames would find more fuel.

That is until the Bison fire, which ran up one side of the Pine Nuts and down the other.

Seven years later, much of the piñon forest that give the mountain range its name converted to cheat grass, a far more combustible material.

On Thursday, it will be a month since Minden saw a drop of rain. Western Nevada is in the beginning of a new drought, and the fire started in the middle of a red flag warning for gusty winds and low humidity.

It was only a matter of time before a spark would set the mountain alight again.

What provided the spark may never be known. Roadside fires are usually caused by passing vehicles. We’ve had trucks dragging chains leaving a trail of sparks and wildfires. Occasionally, motorists toss a lit cigarette out of a window instead of putting it in an ash tray, setting a fire.

Our thanks to firefighters across the region who came to East Fork Fire District’s aid. A big fire like this isn’t put out by accident, but by hard, dangerous work.