Another fire

Another chance to say thank you

It takes a village … well in this case it would be more accurate to say it takes a fire camp. We residents of Plumas County are no strangers to fire and we have become accustomed to fire camps springing up in our midst. Think Mill Creek Road during the Minerva Fire (after relocating from the fairgrounds due to the opening of the annual two-county event) or the West Shore of Lake Almanor during the Chips Fire.

Still it’s a bit amazing to see these camps arise in the middle of a field, capable of catering to a large number of people that in many cases surpasses the residents living in nearby towns. The fire camp in Taylorsville hosted more than 2,000 personnel, while the town itself boasts just 167 residents. A small trailer city with units to house the various tactical, administrative and housekeeping tasks are surrounded by a virtual sea of tents — home away from home for the firefighters and support workers who arrived from across the state and the country — some from away as Maine and New Hampshire.

It’s a well-honed process unfortunately, but it’s a necessary part of protecting our resources and our communities. It was a bit remarkable to discover that the Walker Fire has been the first priority on the national front and still the largest fire to date in the state this season. Fire season in northern California got off to a rather late start and this week’s rain might call an early end. We would all be so grateful for that to be the case.

Living in the shadows of the Camp and Carr fires from last year, we all realize the utter devastation that can ensue in a matter of minutes, hours and days. The big push that the Walker Fire took on its third day could have been catastrophic had it been located more closely to a community. What would have happened if the Minerva Fire had made such a push?

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It’s a bit comforting to know that there is a fire camp in the county right now. They are here to fight the Walker, but would be close at hand if another fire were to erupt — and it did. The Stony Fire, broke out about 3 miles north of the Walker and was quickly surrounded and contained through efforts of the Plumas National Forest and air support from the Walker. The cause of that fire is under investigation; it was not a spot fire.

We want to thank all of those locally and from afar who have worked so diligently to fight the Walker Fire. Because it was away from central population areas, firefighters weren’t treated to the same sights of “Thank You” sings on storefronts, street corners and in yards. But we want them all to know that what they do is greatly appreciated and we wish them safety while they are here and good travels home when this is behind us.