Can't ignore fire season restrictions
Authorities don't yet know whether it was deliberately set or accidentally set, but it is clear the wild fire that has been burning north of Yuma for days was not the result of natural causes.
The U.S. Bureau of Land Management is seeking help from the public to identify the individual or individuals who may have caused the destructive fire that has so far burned more than 700 acres in the Mittry Lake and Laguna Dam areas. The agency is offering a $10,000 reward for information. Those with information can call 1-800-47-ARSON.
Ironically, the fire was ignited only days after the bureau announced fire restrictions were in place across southern Arizona, including the Yuma area. Such restrictions are not unusual this time of year when new brush growth encouraged by spring rainfall begins to dry out.
The dry vegetation burns easily and rapidly. In the case of the current fire, the situation has been made even worse by strong periodic winds which drive the flames and make it difficult for firefighters to bring the fire under control. It may still be days before the fire is fully out and firefighters can leave.
Some people take fire restrictions casually, dismissing them as routine precautions. They may think it really isn't necessary to avoid open fires, smoking and other potential causes for accidental fires. It is this thinking that can accidentally cause serious wild fires.
And a few people, tragically, think it is fun to set fires. Dangerous fire conditions can be an incentive for them.
It may be some time before we know which was the case in this fire.
In either instance, the result is destruction of public and private property, untold hours of backbreaking effort by firefighters and potential injury or death.
It is definitely not something to be taken lightly.