Where there’s smoke …

If the flare-ups around the North State haven’t gotten your attention, no doubt the inferno in South Lake Tahoe has. Fire is a serious concern where there’s a lot to burn, and our dry spring has left a lot of dried grass and kindling throughout the region. Even the most inept Survivor contestant could spark a flame here.

And a spark is all it takes to char thousands of acres and hundreds of homes.

That’s why we support the efforts of Ridge residents to get the Sawmill Peak lookout tower staffed. It takes $8,000 a month to man the post, and Cal Fire doesn’t have the funding. Citizens like Magalia’s Les Olinger are helping fill the void. (To join his cause, call 873-1634.)

Meanwhile, Butte County Supervisor Kim Yamaguchi is lobbying Sacramento to get lookouts back in the budget. Yamaguchi doesn’t get praised in these pages too often, but we salute the effort he’s investing on behalf of his constituents, not only for the lookout but for another route out of Magalia. Paving Forest Highway 171 could save many lives—and as we’ve been so vividly reminded, the reality of fire is inescapable, but fires themselves can be escaped.