An outpouring of help and support |

An outpouring of help and support

Nevada Appeal editorial board

The outpouring of help for Carson City residents driven by the Waterfall fire from their own homes, and the show of support for the hundreds of firefighters who have arrived here from across the West, are reminders how the true character of a place rises to the top in times of crisis.

This fire, as yet uncontrolled, already ranks among the most severe crises ever faced by Nevada’s capital city.

It’s not necessarily ironic the last such event was the flood of 1997. While the fire was human-caused, drought, wind and heat created the conditions for catastrophe. Like the rest of the state, Carson City is a place of extremes – tested by Mother Nature in one way or another, and never a particularly easy place to scratch out a living.

That’s one of the reasons people pull together so readily. In a land of independent-willed people, help is never more than an arm’s-length away. We know if our neighbors ask for a hand, they must need it.

For example, evacuation centers were set up for people displaced by the fire. They were a necessary accommodation. Yet of the thousands of families who were forced to flee their homes, only a handful needed to stay overnight in a shelter. Why? Because people all over town opened their homes to their friends.

In fact, volunteers at the evacuation centers often outnumbered by 5-to-1 the number of people needing help. And it didn’t surprise us a bit.

Donations are being taken in many locations to help those who have suffered losses. Often, though, the charity is spontaneous and loosely organized – like the group of co-workers, in one instance, who simply headed for a store and loaded up shopping carts with clothes and goods for a displaced family.

Firefighters too will get whatever they need. Carson City is showing its gratitude in what we’re sure is a typical reaction in any small Western city defended against wildfire.

We simply wanted to pause a moment in the midst of chaos and desperation on the part of so many and acknowledge the selfless, charitable acts of those who are able to assist them.

Thank you, firefighters. Thank you, Carson City.