Douglas board supports fire management resolution |

Douglas board supports fire management resolution

by Christy Chalmers

Douglas County leaders have endorsed a letter seeking better fire management in New Mexico, and they’re finding the issue isn’t far from the hearts of their own constituents.

The county commission unanimously approved a letter Thursday supporting an Otero County, N.M. resolution that criticizes the U.S. Forest Service’s wildfire management efforts and asks for a state takeover of the federal forests.

Douglas County’s letter urges Nevada’s congressional delegation to help address Otero County’s concerns. The Otero resolution condemned U.S. Forest Service management efforts, citing a wildfire that destroyed homes in that county. The resolution accused the Forest Service of “mismanagement” and said the agency ignored pleas for action to reduce wildfire threats.

Even as he was signing the letter, commission Chairman Bernie Curtis said he’s been getting phone calls from people in south Douglas County who are concerned about a Bureau of Land Management plan to set controlled fires in the Jack Wright Summit area.

“They’re very concerned about the past record of the Bureau of Land Management and their use of fire on public land,” he said.

In October, a controlled burn on Mount Como got out of control and burned 1,700 acres instead of the planned 400.

Wellington resident Victor Buron cited that fire in a letter to the commissioners and various newspapers.

“My advice to BLM and forestry is to not repeat the disasters of Mt. Como in Nevada … or the recent New Mexico and Colorado disasters that were planned ‘control’ burns set by these agencies,” he wrote.

The BLM is taking public comments on the controlled burn plan through Feb. 16. For more information or to submit a comment, call Tim Roide at 885-6185.