The Eagle Creek wildfire apparently started with a single act of youthful irresponsibility. But sparks from that devastatingly negligent deed landed in a cherished place of shared responsibility, and the rest of us must ask ourselves whether we've done everything we can to protect that particular treasure.

The question extends beyond the Columbia River Gorge to include all of Oregon's forest lands. The Eagle Creek blaze may be the most noticeable for Portland-area residents, but it was not the first — or largest — in the state.