Ector County Commissioners Keep Burn Ban in Place

By Geena Martinez
NewsWest 9

ECTOR COUNTY - It's official. The burn ban in Ector County is here to stay, at least for now, but not every commissioner agreed with that decision.

Commissioners discussed lifting the burn ban but they ultimately decided to keep it in place, despite being one of few counties who allowed fireworks for the New Year holiday.

Some of our viewers took to our Facebook page wondering how just last month the county allowed fireworks and now they're deciding to keep the burn ban after all.

NewsWest 9 spoke with Judge Susan Redford to find out and we also heard from some residents who are happy to hear about the decision.

"This stuff here is just like gasoline, all of it," resident Ted Swift said. "I'm glad they got the burn ban back and I hope they keep it back until we get a heck of a lot more water."

That's the feeling of many residents living in Ector County.

On Monday morning, Commissioners voted to keep the current burn ban in place.

This, after other nearby counties already did away with theirs.

Commissioner Freddie Gardner was the odd man out in this vote.

"My concern is because of the buildup of debris that it's becoming a danger and it does need to be eliminated," Gardner said.

Gardner proposed lifting the ban for a few weeks so residents could burn the fire fuel around their homes, but for now, they'll have to wait.

"People that obey the law are the ones that suffer," Gardner said. "People that don't obey the law are gonna do what they want anyway."

Judge Susan Redford said weather projections make it too risky to lift the ban, but she still defends the Commissioners' decision to allow fireworks last month.

"At that point and time when we allowed the use of fireworks, it was temporary and only for a short period of time and there was snow on the ground," Judge Redford said. "At this point in time, the snow is gone, the ground is dry and the danger is back."

Gardner feels the County is infringing on citizen's rights.

"We don't want to be unfair in keeping a burn ban forever but we have to protect the safety of the public," Judge Redford said.

Many Ector County residents feel the same way.

"I've seen what fire can do," Swift said. "I mean there is smart people out here but they ain't got a cotton picking bit of common sense."

"I think it's a great idea with all the burn stuff around here that the weeds tumble by and the wind is blowing so hard," Geraldine Green said. "I think it's a good idea to keep the burn ban on."