Quay County Sun - Serving the High Plains

Curry, Roosevelt keeping fire restrictions in place


July 10, 2012

Roosevelt and Curry counties will keep fire restrictions in place for now even though the New Mexico State Forestry Division will lift statewide fire restrictions 8 a.m. today.

The state ban being lifted includes smoking, fireworks, camp fires and open fires.

Curry County's fire restriction expires the end of July. Roosevelt County's around the first of August.

Curry County Commissioner Wendell Bostwick said he feels many parts of the county are still dry, so he believes the county restrictions should remain in place.

"I think it's better served as a local ordinance than a state ordinance," Bostwick said. "I believe each county should make their own determination on whether it is too dry or not. There are parts of the county that are still dry and parts that have had rain."

Bostwick said he would have to look closer at parts of the county to decide but from what he has seen, certain parts of the county are still too dry for restrictions to be lifted.

County Commissioner Caleb Chandler said whether he would want to lift restrictions will depend on what happens between now and the next commission meeting on July 24.

The rain total for June and July recorded at Cannon Air Force Base is 1.83 inches, according to Accuweather.com.

Roosevelt County Manager Charlene Webb said Roosevelt County's restrictions expire some time around Aug. 1, so commissioners should be voting on the issue again this month.

Roosevelt County Commissioner Bill Cathey said he would like to review more county land before making a decision.

"I would have to review what parts of the county have received rain and what parts haven't," Cathey said. "If it is green enough, I won't have any problems lifting it but it's going to take more than an inch or so of rain to put us out of danger. But I'd hate to say parts can't burn when they're perfectly OK to burn."

Portales fire Chief Gary Nuckols said he believes it is OK that state restrictions are being lifted, because most of the state has recently received much larger amounts of rain than the local area.

"I'm a proponent of that," Nuckols said. "Folks in Roosevelt County haven't been able to burn anything since March. I know there are folks out there who need to burn trash and brush who haven't been able to for a few months."

Nuckols said he thinks lifting the Roosevelt County fire restrictions would be OK as long as local residents continue to exercise caution.

"The fire danger is still there but it has certainly suppressed the fire restrictions somewhat," Nuckols said. "Just continue to use good common sense and be cautious if you are using fire or burning anything."

The forestry division will continue to monitor fire danger across the state, according to a division press release, and will reinstate restrictions if drought conditions worsen again.

"With the return of seasonal moisture across much of the state and our incidence of human-caused fires down, we feel the restrictions imposed earlier this year can be lifted," said New Mexico State Forester Tony Delfin. "While fire danger is lower around New Mexico right now, we urge residents and visitors to still exercise a lot of caution with any use of fire and obey any local and federal restrictions that are still in place."


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