Editor's note: This article was written by a Townsquare Media Northern New England contributor and may contain the individual's views, opinions or personal experiences.

First the iconic Red Jacket Inn bursts into flames...now the White Mountain National Forest?

As devastating as it is, the White Mountains did in fact have around 175 acres roasted by wildfires this past weekend, according to a WMUR article.

Forest fires are often something we see on the news out west. Rarely do we hear of such devastation coming to our forests, but it can happen.

It did happen.

And it will happen again this summer if we are not mindful.

Saturday morning into the afternoon is when many New Hampshire residents noticed smoke filling up the forest of the White Mountains.

One resident, Harry Lichtman of Newmarket, was up in the Whites hiking when the fires started to spread.

“I knew initially that something was very wrong. You just don't see smoke in that area at all," said Lichtman to WMUR. “There are four patches of smoke and it didn't look right, all near the road that are popular with people and hikers near Arethusa Falls and Frankenstein Cliffs.”

It did not look right at all. By Saturday afternoon, Conway Fire Chief Stephen Solomon called the forest fire "major," according to WMUR.

Fortunately, a light rain storm Saturday afternoon helped put out some of the scorched forest.

“It is not yet contained, so today (Sunday), what we are doing is putting line around it,” said Jim Innes, district ranger with White Mountain National Forest, to WMUR.

“When we scratch a fire line, that means we are taking away the fuel and we are going right down to the soil,” Innes said. “It's like building a hiking trail around it. So, we want to stop that fire by making a break in the fuel.”

Let this early summer warning be just that...a warning. As the summer months approach, we should all see this as a scary example. In a matter of hours, 175 acres were threatened in the White Mountain National Forest.

Imagine if this took place in August, after a longer drought.

If you plan on being in the White Mountains this summer, be prepared. If you camp, check the threat of fire. Some days have a higher threat of wildfires than others, and the threat is not always obvious.

Most important, if and when you have a fire, make sure to put it out completely.

One coal not fully extinguished and one gust of wind is all it takes to devastate an entire national forest.

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