The Quay County Commission has initiated a open fire ban which became effective at 8 a.m. Tuesday.
The commission approved the resolution on the recommendation of Donald Adams, Quay County Fire Marshal, at its Monday meeting.
The resolution says the county is joining other Eastern New Mexico and West Texas counties in the ban and that current drought indices and predictions for drought conditions indicate it is in the best interests of the residents. "The county-wide ban (is) on any outdoor open flame, with the exception of propane and charcoal barbecue grills with covers," according to the resolution.
A fire last week on Highway 104 north of Tucumcari is a prime example of the dry, and drought-like conditions in Quay County.
Adams, said that Rural 1, 2 and the Tucumcari Fire department responded to the fire. They received additional help from the Arch Hurley Conservancy District.
"My compliments go out to the fire departments for their quick response to the fire on 104," said Commissioner Robert Lopez.
"Arch Hurley helped us out a great deal by dumping close to 15,000 gallons of water on that fire," Adams said. "The conditions in Quay County could have easily led to that fire on 104 growing out of control."
The ban will be enforced by any Quay County Sheriff's Office deputy or any state certified law enforcement officer. A person can be fined $100 for the first violation of the ban, $250 for the second and $500 for a third violation of the ban.
Adams said that in addition to the fines, any person violating the ban could be responsible and liable for any cost, expenses of damage cause by any fire that might be created by the violation. A violator of the ban will also be reponsible for reimbursing Quay County for the full cost of any and all labor or equipment used to attend or necessary to control, contain and suppress the fire.
On Tuesday, a large plume of dark smoke could be seen in the sky north of Tucumcair. Adams said that the fire was in San Miguel County which does not come under the jurisdiction of Quay County.
Additional items before the commission
• Appointment of Robert Lopez to the Juvenile Drinking Law Task Force.
• There are 1,163.11 miles of county roads that are maintained by the Quay County Road Department, according to the 2009 total Maintained Mileage certified by the commissioners.
• An update on the Quay County Detention Center security control boards was presented by Anthony Elebario, QCDC's administrator. The schematics for the control panels have been drawn and are awaiting approval by the state. Work on the surveillance system is scheduled to begin in April, Elebario said.