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Grant County Issues an Emergency Fire Hazard Ordinance

Legal Notice

County of Grant Ordinance No. _14-01: An Emergency Ordinance Declaring a Fire Hazard Emergency and Enacting Measures to Decrease the County’s Risk of Injury to Persons or Property and Substantial Financial Loss to the County of Grant and Its Residents as a Result of Fire

 WHEREAS, the Grant County Board of Commissioners (the "Commission") recognizes the severity of the drought conditions and high fire potential in Grant County. The Commission has determined that protective measures must be taken to protect the health, safety, and welfare of its citizens and to decrease the risk of injury to persons and property.

NOW THEREFORE, BE IT ORDAINED BY THE BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS OF GRANT COUNTY, NEW MEXICO THAT:

Section 1. DECLARATION OF EMERGENCY. Due to the drought conditions and high fire potential, which have created a significant and immediate danger to the public peace, health, safety, and welfare, a fire hazard emergency is declared in Grant County.

Section 2. FINDINGS.
A. There has been a recent increase in fires within Grant County;
B. The danger of range fires, brush fires, grass fires, structure fires and other fires of every kind is presently significantly high in and around Grant County;
C. The probability of ignition of materials likely to serve as fuel for fire is extremely high in Grant County;
D. The weather in Grant County has been unseasonably dry and windy, contributing to the present high fire risk;
E. The current information made available by the National Weather Service and the National Interagency Fire Center Predictive Services indicate that extreme and/or severe drought conditions and high fire potential exist in Grant County;

F. The drought and high fire potential have created emergency conditions that pose a significant and immediate danger to the public health, safety, and welfare should a fire start in Grant County;
G. Under NMSA (1978) § 4-37-7.C, the Commission may by-pass the procedural requirements of adopting an ordinance when the Commission has declared an emergency to be an immediate danger to the public health, safety, and welfare.

Section 3. RESTRICTIONS.
A. Open fires, including but not limited to campfires, charcoal grills, stove fires, and other open fires used for cooking are prohibited, except in developed camp and picnic grounds where agency-built fire rings or grills are provided—these are usually areas that charge campsite fees. Check postings at campgrounds before starting a fire.
B. Open burning, including but not limited to burning of croplands, fields, rangeland, debris/trash burning, slash piles, or weeds is prohibited.
C. Pressurized liquid or gas stoves, lanterns and heaters are generally allowed, unless determined to be a fire hazard by an enforcing officer.
D. Covered propane grills are generally allowed on areas of barren dirt, pavement, concrete or similar surfaces, unless determined to be a fire hazard by an enforcing officer.
E. Use of chain saws is prohibited, except as specifically authorized by the County Fire Management Officer or the County Manager.
F. Outdoor smoking is prohibited, except on private residential property and otherwise in areas of barren dirt, pavement, concrete or similar surfaces where there are appropriate disposal receptacles for burning objects.
G. Lighted matches, cigarettes, cigars or other burning objects shall not be discarded in such a manner that could cause ignition of combustible material.
H. No person shall dispose of hot ashes, cinders, smoldering coals or greasy or oily materials subject to spontaneous ignition except in an approved combustible receptacle.
I. Welding is prohibited unless it is done with at least ten (10) gallons of water and a shovel readily available and accessible, and with a minimum barrier of twenty (20) feet to mineral soil.
J. Pursuant to NMSA (1978) § 60-2C-7.C, the sale and use of all aerial devices (including aerial shell kit-reloadable tubes, aerial spinners, helicopters, mines, missile-type rockets, multiple tube devices, roman candles, shells, and stick-type rockets) and ground audible devices (chasers and firecrackers) are prohibited.
K. Any sources of ignition, which the County Fire Management Officer or the Grant County Manager deems to be a hazard and with respect to which notice is posted, is prohibited in accordance within the posted park or area.

Section 4. TERM OF ORDINANCE. Pursuant to NMSA (1978) § 4-37-9.C, this ordinance shall become effective immediately after it is authenticated and recorded by the county clerk. This ordinance shall remain in effect unless and until the Grant County Board of Commissioners adopts a resolution indicating that ordinance is no longer in effect.

Section 5. INTERGOVERNMENTAL COOPERATION. The Commission supports any reasonable burn restrictions enacted by the Federal, State, and other municipal governments.

Section 6. SEVERABILITY. If any portion of this ordinance is held unlawful or invalid, the remaining portions of the ordinance shall remain in full force and effect.

Section 7. PENALTIES. Any individual, firm, partnership, corporation or other entity who violates this ordinance shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be fined in an amount not to exceed $300 and may be imprisoned for up to ninety (90) days, or both.

Section 8. ENFORCEMENT. The Grant County Sheriff's Office shall have the authority for enforcement of this emergency ordinance.

Section 9. PUBLICATION. Under NMSA (1978) § 4-37-7.C, the Commission may by-pass the procedural requirements of adopting an ordinance when the Commission has declared an emergency to be an immediate danger to the public health, safety, and welfare. Based on the declared emergency, there will be no prior publication of this ordinance. However, this ordinance shall be published in a newspaper of general circulation once a week for two consecutive weeks after its adoption to give notice to the public.

PASSED, APPROVED, AND ADOPTED, this 24th day of April 2014, by the Grant County Board of Commissioners.

 

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