Resident fired up over burn ban

By Karl Terry: PNT Managing Editor

Roosevelt County commissioners tabled a proposed burn ordinance Tuesday following a public hearing in which one resident did a slow burn over the proposed law.

The ordinance called for a year-round burn ban that can be lifted by resolution when conditions warrant.

Roosevelt County resident Hal Jilek views the ordinance as unnecessary and onerous to county residents.

“This ordinance is just another layer of bureaucracy we’ll have to put up with,” Jilek said. “It’s just saying we’re not smart enough to know when we can burn.”
Jilek questioned what percentage of fires in the county are caused by fires that start as a controlled burn before getting out of control. Commissioners said they didn’t know that number, but several in attendance agreed it would likely be 1 percent or less.

“This is something we just want to pass so we don’t have to go through a lot of rigmarole when we get in drought conditions,” County Attorney Randy Knudson said.

Following last year’s fire season, the county enacted a lengthy fire ban by resolution.

Knudson agreed with Jilek more work was necessary on the fines associated with the ordinance and suggested tabling the matter to the next meeting.

“I think most of the commissioners would agree with you,” Commissioner Gene Creighton told Jilek. “Ninety percent use common sense, it’s that 10 percent that needs to be cited.”

After unanimously tabling the burn ordinance, the commission moved through a public hearing on the fireworks ordinance and voted 4-1 to adopt it with Commissioner Bill Cathey voting no. Commissioners added fines for that ordinance of not less than $100 and not more than $250 during the meeting.

In other business Roosevelt County Commissioners:

• Approved a list of nominees submitted by County Clerk Janet Collins to serve as the 2007 Board of Registration, which assists with purging names that are no longer residents from voter rolls.

• Approved a bid of $36,250 for a used truck for the county road department.

• Approved a joint resolution with the city of Portales declaring a state of emergency after the recent snowstorms. If the state accepts the declaration state funding to cover overtime and repairs to equipment related to the storm could become available.