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Commission reviews Scofield fire situation

Sun Advocate reporter

County commissioners reviewed the costs of the Scofield fire that burned earlier this summer. While they were not overly impressed by the prescribed burn that caused it, they did notice positive aspects of the effort to contain it.

"I've never seen anything operate so smoothly in all my life," said Commissioner John Jones, addressing the U.S. Forest Service fire representative.

In all, the fire incurred a total cost of $810,000. That amount will be paid by the state. Aside from the financial costs of the fire, the issue of access arose because the current roads in the area are narrow and restrictive to firefighters.

Dave Levanger informed the commission that if the roads are going to be widened, lot sizes would also need to be modified. Thus, other avenues were evaluated.

"Is something like a bush truck more feasible? (If so) we should get something budgeted. It's a ticking time bomb," said commissioner Mike Milovich.

Several other items relating to the fire were also discussed, because commissioners wanted to know what was needed in order to help crews to operate better.

"Why don't you put together a list (of what's needed) and show us at a later date?" asked Milovich.

Permit wise, the county issued a conditional use permit to OSO Oil and Gas Properties to install a CO2 processing facility at its Emma Park mine site. The new system will take the CO2 out of methane from the mine, but unlike similar operations, it will not produce enough CO2 for commercial use. In all, the facility will cost about $1 million to build.

Another permit for a gravel pit on Old Wellington Road will return to the planning and zoning panel for further consideration, although the commission has supported Dave Levanger in creating a temporary use permit for the area. Commissioner Bill Krompel was concerned because, while he acknowledged that the county needs gravel, he has been aware that reclaiming the pits after gravel has been extracted.

To conclude, the Barred Choice subdivision was approved and $5,500 was allotted to help the volunteer R.S.V.P. Service.

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