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Originally published: 2013-12-07 15:10:42
Last modified: 2013-12-07 15:11:28

Our View: Fire crews rock solid

There's no doubt that Linville Gorge will look radically different to those hiking the area today, but without the efforts of hundreds of firefighters who spent nearly a month battling the Table Rock wildfire, that view surely would be much harsher. 

The horrific blaze that consumed nearly 2,600 acres began Nov. 12 and wasn't fully contained until this week, on Dec. 4. 

Although we've had a recent, albeit short, span of springlike temperatures, today's forecast does much to remind us of the winter conditions in which firefighters and crews labored.  

Such duty is not for everyone, but without those efforts our community would be far less safe than it is. It takes a special person to willingly claim such work environments, and each one of those who do is due our gratitude.  

Today, the gorge and its trails are open to the public -- an opening that seemed far-fetched during the worst of the blaze -- but visitors are cautioned against hazards such as downed trees and other safety risks. 

And although the work in this area is far from done -- rehabilitation efforts are in their infancy -- the most dangerous portion of securing this gorge in the Grandfather Ranger District is finished. A job truly well done.