Open burning rule goes up in smoke

YERINGTON - A proposal to impose countywide open burning regulations on certain materials has been narrowly defeated.

Determining how to enforce the burning of banned materials would be best decided within each community, Lyon County commissioners decided last week. They voted 3-2 to defeat the proposal.

Commissioner Phyllis Hunewill said Smith Valley residents wanted to be excluded from the proposed ordinance.

"They feel they don't need an ordinance to cover this at this time," Hunewill said. "I think we need to hear from different areas of the county. Every area is different. I have a problem with an ordinance that is a blanket for the entire county."

She also noted that state air quality laws regulate open burning.

Mason Valley Fire Chief Steve Tognoli introduced the county proposal.

"I felt it was an important area of concern," Tognoli said. "It would give us the power to enforce the burning of banned materials. For repeat offenders, it would give us backing in court. It would be a good deterrent."

Commissioner Leroy Goodman said the issue should be locally enforced.

"Fernley already has such an ordinance," he said. "I am sympathetic to what you are trying to do, but we can't delineate between one area and another. It should be a regional enforcement issue. We already have enough in writing if we are willing to enforce it."

In making the motion for approval, Commissioner David Fulstone said there are problems with burning illegal materials and an enforcement tool is needed.

"It is difficult for me to support it if we are not going to enforce it. Everything listed in the ordinance is already illegal," he noted. "The district attorney says the ordinance has to be countywide. I move to approve it because we need the enforcement tool."

Commissioners Bob Milz, Goodman and Hunewill voted against the motion. Commissioner Chet Hillyard voted in support with Fulstone.


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