Living in the middle of a national forest has its perks. It also has its dangers. It only took the latest fire — the Valley Fire near Forest Falls — to bring the danger to our attention.

While the Valley Fire is still far from being contained at press time for The Big Bear Grizzly this week, it is never to early to say thanks to emergency responders for their efforts. In this instance, firefighters from San Bernardino County Fire, Cal Fire and the San Bernardino National Forest were not only quick to respond, they worked nonstop in arduous conditions over steep terrain.

Even when thunderstorms crashed down around them and mudslides tumbled down to cover State Route 38, these men and women did not waiver.

They battled relentlessly under high temperatures reaching triple digits, through chaparral and timber that hasn’t had significant fire history. They continue to battle through thunderstorms and high winds and the threat of flash floods.

Our firefighters battle the Valley Fire as resources are stretched to cover other fires in the San Bernardino National Forest — the Box Fire, which is 90 percent containted as of July 10, and the Creek Fire, off Highway 330 that as of July 10 is now 100 percent contained.

Other agencies — the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department, California Highway Patrol, Caltrans and a host of Hot Shot crews — are doing their part, too. By the end of the weekend, residents in Forest Falls and Mountain Home were able to go home again. No structures have been lost in the Valley Fire. We suspect that will be the case when all is said and done.

Firefighting is a dangerous job, but a necessary one for the safety of the Big Bear community. Over and over again, Big Bear residents have been able to sleep well at night knowing that its fire department and the other fire departments that cover the community, will do their best to keep us safe.

They did their jobs during the Old Fire in 2003, when the entire mountaintop had to evacuate. They did their jobs during the Butler fires, the Slide fires, the Lake Fire, the Holcomb Fire and the Summit Fire.

So, thank you, firefighters, for once again proving that Big Bear has the best firefighting teams in the state. We all appreciate what you do day in and day out to keep us safe.

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