Winter is over. Spring is rapidly disappearing, and the next season will soon be upon us -- fire season.
Summer sort of takes a back seat as a season in this part of the country. The main purpose of summer, after all, is merely to dry everything out so we can burn the state down.
Nearly a third of Elmore County has burned in the last three years. The worst fires last year, the Pony and Elk Complex fires, were lightning caused. In fact, lightning is a major cause of fires in this area.
But so are humans. We can't do a lot about Mother Nature, but we can do a great deal about the human causes of fires, and the damage that results.
It is absolutely imperative that every person who heads out on to the desert or up into the hills be fire wise. Genuinely think about making sure your activities won't spark a fire.
That means watching your campfires and making absolutely sure they are out.
Don't drive vehicles with catalytic converters out into brushy areas (or anything else that creates high heat or sparks).
You really don't need to shoot at exploding targets -- at least not at this time of year.
If you smoke, do it in your car if at all possible. One careless butt, or an ember that breaks away, is all it takes.
And, of course, as we near the Fourth of July, there's the ever-present problem of people who just have to set off fireworks in areas where fires can easily start.
Remember, if you start a fire, you are legally responsible for the costs of putting it out. One careless spark and you could be bankrupt. More importantly, you'll be responsible for the destruction of someone else's property. And since fire can kill, you risk being responsible for that as well.
In addition, every homeowners on the edge of the desert or who owns property in the mountains, can and should take measures to protect their property in the event of a fire. One of the best methods is to build fire breaks around your property.
When you are out doing your spring gardening, think about creating a strip of land, preferably ten yards wide, that would be resistant to fire. That could be anything from simple dirt, to landscaping with rocks, to well-watered grass -- anything that won't rapidly burn.
As fire season approaches, it's time to be fire wise.
-- Kelly Everitt