Moffat County Commission passes fire ban resolution

In other action ...

During its regularly scheduled meeting Tuesday, the Moffat County Commission:

• Approved, 2-0, waiving the bid process for engineering services for improvements to Colorado Highway 317.

• Approved, 2-0, a contract with Civil Design Consultants to conduct Colorado Highway 317 engineering.

• Approved, 2-0, Ridgeline Unit joinder and lease amendments between Moffat County and Axia Energy.

• Approved, 2-0, Ridgeline Unit joinder and lease amendments between the Museum of Northwest Colorado and Axia Energy.

• Approved, 2-0, hiring a full-time food service supervisor for the Moffat County Public Safety Center.

• Approved, 2-0, hiring a part-time master control technician for the Moffat County Public Safety Center.

• Heard road and bridge monthly reports.

• Approved, 2-0, the Martin exemption.

• Approved, 2-0, the Chadd/Burch variance.

• Approved, 2-0, a Lockhart Geophysical plan to conduct 2D seismic mapping for Axia Energy.

• Approved, 2-0, Green River Energy Resources' plan to conduct 2D seismic mapping for Shell.

• Approved, 2-0, Mercury Towers, LLC project for a 190-foot wireless 3G and high-speed Internet telecommunications tower in Maybell.

• Approved, 2-0, Mercury Towers, LLC project for a 190-foot wireless 3G and high-speed Internet telecommunications tower in Craig.

• Approved, 2-0, partial vacation of Moffat County Road 76. Approved, 2-0, vacation of Moffat County Road 49.

— Commissioner Tom Gray was absent from Tuesday’s meeting.

The Moffat County Commissioners approved, 2-0, Resolution 2012-72 on Tuesday establishing a fire ban in unincorporated portions of Moffat County.

The ban takes effect immediately.

Among the activities prohibited include the burning of trash, fence rows, debris and vegetation; lighting a camp fire or charcoal grill outside of developed recreation areas featuring permanent fire pits with grates; smoking outside in non-designated areas; operating a chainsaw without a U.S. Department of Agriculture-approved spark arresting device; welding or using an open-flamed torch that is not clear of flammable materials for at least 10 feet on all sides; using explosives requiring fuses or blasting caps; and the discharge of any fireworks.

Commissioner Tom Mathers said the looming ban has been a topic among county residents since Moffat County Sheriff Tim Jantz recommended June 5 that elected officials take preventative action against the potential for a human-caused wildfire.

Talks have only intensified since the 430,000-acre High Park fire ignited Saturday near Fort Collins, Mathers said.

“When you’ve got those huge fires on the Front Range, it provides people with awareness of how bad it is,” Mathers said.

Jantz recommended a week ago the commission consider passing a fire restriction ordinance.

An ordinance would have provided, among other things, law enforcement representatives with the authority to levy fines against residents who would otherwise ignore a resolution.

Commissioners cited an ordinance would require a public introduction and two readings before it could be approved in their decision to enact a fire ban resolution.

Had commissioners decided to enact an ordinance, it would not have taken effect until after July 4.

However, the commission followed part of Jantz’s advice by stipulating certain exemptions to the ban.

Residents may acquire a free permit through the sheriff’s office to burn open fires.

“We’re a little behind in comparison to other counties, but I also think we are more in tune with what our public wants,” Jantz said. “I think the public is well aware of what is going on in the state, and I think the (burn permit) provides us with the opportunity to educate the public.”

Also among the exemptions are the burning of liquid-fueled or gas-fueled stoves, indoor fireplaces, charcoal grills on private residences, and bonfires required for religious ceremonies.

An existing city ordinance already bans open burning within Craig city limits.

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Comments

Jason Phillips 1 year, 10 months ago

Certain exemptions: "...bonfires for religious ceremonies."

This seems like a great loophole I would have liked to exploit back in my carefree youth. Hear that kids? Just make sure you bring a bible to the camp fire this summer.

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David Moore 1 year, 10 months ago

As usual, one dumba$$, or one fire miles and miles away spoils it for the rest of us.

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dogfan 1 year, 10 months ago

"One fire miles and miles away spoils it for the rest of us."

What do we have to have a fire here before they issue a ban? Glad to see it happen, if one were to get started here the way the wind has been blowing lately it would cover alot of ground in no time.

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cag81625 1 year, 10 months ago

Conditions are bad. This drought is worse than the one ten years ago. That, coupled with all of the fuel left from the recent wet years has left us a tinder box. The fire in Powderwash went to nearly 1200 acres. I mean, when is the last time you heard about a fire up that way, much less one that large? There's a lot more fuel around Craig and certainly around places like Knez Divide. A fire ban was about a month overdue if you ask me.

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David Moore 1 year, 10 months ago

I guess what I meant is that those who do not know how to manage or properly use fire spoil things, like campouts and fireworks, for the rest of us. You can't stop nature, or ban it, so it is only those who are dumb enough to let it get out of control that spoil it. That is what I meant. I agree, things are dry and I guess to get the dumb ones you have to ban it from everyone. Typical.

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George Robertson 1 year, 10 months ago

Be careful what you say David. No matter how cautious and attentive you are, being human, You at times could be considered one of the "dumb ones". As difficult as it may be to imagine, even I have fallen into that category once. The fire ban is meant to give heightened awareness to the danger of open burning given the current conditions. Don't take offense, it's not individually directed at you.

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David Moore 1 year, 10 months ago

No worries, I am one of the dumb ones quite often. I tend to live by the rule of common sense however which is something devoid in our society these days. If it is dry as a bone, don't burn anything.....that's what I am getting at. Nature is just that, nature, you can't control it and a fire ban won't do anything to control Ma nature. Bans are put in place because some people don't use their heads. Anyway, didn't mean to make this an adverse comment fest, if they put out a ban, it must be pretty bad. I will heed.

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