With the number of wildfires in Nevada this time of year, it's easy to take for granted the work done by firefighting crews.
Then, suddenly, we are jolted by the reality that this is extremely dangerous work.
Tragically, Phillip Conner, a 29-year-old seasonal firefighter from Prescott, Ariz., lost his life last week in a helicopter crash in Elko County.
His was the first death related to wildland fires in Nevada since 1986. While we can only regret that we didn't go many more years without a fatality, it is nevertheless a remarkably long streak considering the hazards involved.
There already have been more than 700 fires in Nevada. Thousands of firefighters put themselves in harm's way almost every day, and most of the time the job of fighting fires involves dozens of takeoffs and landings of planes and helicopters.
Smokejumpers sometimes parachute to the scene of wildfires. Ground crews, if not extremely careful, can quickly find themselves face to face with an inferno.
So while we may be accustomed in summer to seeing trucks of grimy firefighters, to seeing slurry bombers drop their red loads of retardant overhead, to hearing the roar of helicopters as they ferry water or crews, don't ever take them for granted.