In this first week of summer, we should pause between rainstorms to remind ourselves what is certainly in our future — racing flames, choking smoke, howling dry winds, fear, danger and destruction. Perhaps this year, perhaps next, inevitably they will come.
This is not being melodramatic. We all know the truth of it. We live in tinder. We straddle swaths of irrigable land between the sagebrush steppe and overgrown, crackling dry, fuel-clogged, diseased and neglected forest. Fire is unavoidable. The epidemic of trees brought by a century of fire suppression and a recent lack of effective management is what we face. We had a normal, wet winter, and an on-and-off spring, but the woods desiccate as we speak. The spark will come.