Recent thunderstorms sparking multiple small fires across the forest should be a reminder that fire season is here.

Although most of the blazes were contained at less than 1 acre in size, the days are getting hotter and hotter.

That means the fire danger will climb as the summer moves into its dog days, and a certain degree of responsibility will fall on us to ensure big blazes don’t erupt because of human error.

Range and forest fires caused by humans are on the rise across the region, and that should be troubling to everyone.

Now that the Fourth of July weekend is in sight, the danger of an accidental fire igniting is acute. Often a careless maneuver by an area resident as they celebrate the nation’s birthday will spark a major blaze, drawing on firefighting resources from across the local area.

While the fact such fires are more common than in the past is a worry, the fact that most of the human-caused fires could be avoided is even more disturbing.

The simple truth is all of us need to use a certain degree of common sense during the July 4 celebration to avoid fires.

Just because our familiar recreation areas do not appear to be parched doesn’t mean there is no fire danger.

After the Fourth of July celebration fades into the background, the sense of caution while recreating, hiking or traveling throughout great national forests should remain. By August, much of the area we love will be drier than normal.

We all want to enjoy the summer, but we all share responsibility to ensure our summer trips don’t end in a tragedy that could have been easily avoided.

So before you journey out to the nearest campground, take heed of the fire danger level. Be cautious with campfires, and understand that it only takes a single spark to create a fire that can devastate thousands of acres.

A bit of common sense, coupled with some basic safety measures, may mean the difference between a great trip to our national forests or a fire that triggers destruction and costs taxpayers.

So, remember, be safe out there, and enjoy the summer.

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