Burn Ban Lifted in Ector County

by Diane Tuazon
NewWest 9

ECTOR COUNTY - The burn ban in Ector County has been lifted and that clears the way for outdoor barbecues, but some are worried that this move is making a potentially dangerous situation even worse.

"If the ban is removed you're going to have some serious problems," West Odessa VFD Chief Jimmy Ellis, said.

Those were the words that Ellis said to try and convince City Commissioners to extend the burn ban in Ector County.

However, for Ellis, it didn't go as he hoped it would. The City Commissioners lifted the burn ban because they felt with the recent rain that hit the Permian Basin a burn ban was no longer needed.

"We need to take this opportunity to let people burn accumulation they have on their property and we'll keep a close eye. I know we'll have 100 degree weather, and if we'll need to, we'll put the burn ban in effect," Commissioner Freddie Gardner, said.

"I think it's a loss for the county because people are going to start burning. It's going to look like a giant flare. Some of them are going to get out of hand, they always do," Ellis said.

It's not just firefighters who are against lifting the ban, but some residents as well. Kay Lewis lives near a large acre of land, and is worried about what could happen to her property.

"People go out there, it's a terrible dump ground and they go out there and dump, light firecrackers, build fires. I just live in fear that the homes would burn anytime and I'll never know," Lewis said.

Commissioner Freddie Gardner says he's not worried about things getting out of hand.

"I feel like people will be very considerate and careful because they don't want to damage anyone's property. I feel very confident that people will be careful and go about this in a proper manner," Gardner said.

Ellis and concerned residents insist that the recent rain is just not good enough to do away with the burn ban.

"Just because we had a little bit of rain does not mean we're going to be green. We still have a lot of dead vegetation. Last week, we had a 200 acre fire right the heavy rain came through," Ellis said.

Now, all they can do is stand by and hope things don't get out of hand.

"Just watch the neighbors and constantly stay alert as to who could be burning something," Lewis said.

"Prepare for the worse, and hope for the best," Ellis said.