Now we have to watch out for an arsonist

It was bad enough when we thought someone was just being careless . Now there are a lot of reasons - 11, at last count - to think someone is deliberately setting fires in and around Carson City.

The frequency and location of the fires over the last couple of weeks just seemed like too much of a coincidence. We're not privy to the evidence they have, but fire investigators announced this week they suspect at least some of the fires may have been the work of an arsonist.

Arson is an unthinkably criminal act. There is no predicting just how much property could be damaged or lives lost if a brush fire gets out of control. We are all familiar with the potential consequences.

To the person or persons doing this, we ask simply that you stop. It's the least you can do.

If you have a conscience, turn yourself in. No one has died. The damage has been minimal so far - even though the Badger fire, which is as close to the middle of nowhere as you can get and still be in Carson City, cost more than $900,000 to fight.

But because it's unlikely someone will confess to these fires without some prompting, there are things the rest of us can do to help.

Be alert for any suspicious activity in rural neighborhoods or backcountry areas. Keep your ears open to anyone who may sound like they're bragging about starting fires.

Also, as Sheriff Kenny Furlong suggested, don't watch the fire. Watch who's driving away from the fire. Vehicle descriptions can be crucial in narrowing a list of suspects.

This is as serious as it gets. We have urged caution and responsibility in the past because of the extreme dangers during fire season, and that's because we were under the naive assumption no one could be so idiotic as to intentionally set a wildland fire in Northern Nevada.

Now, unfortunately, we have to warn people they are in danger not just from fire, but from each other.


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