County Offered Stronger Fire Ban Ordinance

There may be some gaps to fill in the Prowers County ordinance covering fire bans and use of fireworks.  The commissioners met with County Sheriff Jim Faull and County Rural Fire Chief Staffon Warn on Thursday, July 12, to discuss recommended changes submitted by Faull. 

The current county ordinance was last updated in 2006.  The proposed main change recommends the ability of the sheriff to prohibit the sale of fireworks given various conditions such as a Fire Ban, Red Flag warning days or the level of dryness in the county.  Faull noted that with the Governor’s Fire and Fireworks Ban, which has since been relaxed, no mention had been made to prohibit sales of fireworks throughout the state.  Walmart in Lamar pulled their fireworks displays from the shelves the Thursday before the 4th, and those were limited to fountains and sparker-type displays.  The City of Lamar has a general ordinance prohibiting any type of firework that flies through the air or sets off a report or explosion such as a regular firecracker or bottle rocket. 

County Attorney John Lefferdink said some caution should be exercised with altering the current ordinance as the practice may open doors for unexpected conditions and to date, the current ordinance has done well including agriculture oriented burning.  Faull agreed with that point, saying area farmers and ranchers take care to observe any Fire Ban and Red Flag days, but he wanted an inclusion in the ordinance where violators could be penalized.  “If someone flaunts the situation and decides that even if the wind is blowing at 50 mph, he’s still going to burn, I want to be able to have some teeth in an ordinance that makes them think twice,” he stated. 

The sheriff said his proposed ordinance is based on those used by Otero and Pueblo Counties and he would like to see some across-the-board consistency for burn and ban ordinances with other communities in southeast Colorado.  The commissioners recommended that attorney Lefferdink review the proposed changes and those will be reviewed near the end of the month.

By Russ Baldwin


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