Moffat County commissioner apologizes for violating fire restrictions

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Tom Gray

Moffat County Commissioner issues apology letter about burn while ban was in effect:

To the editor:

I lit a fire when a fire ban was on. No excuses or justifications, I was wrong.

The article did an accurate job of describing the facts at the time. Beyond that, actions speak louder than words, and my actions send the message that I believe I am somehow above the rules.

My actions call into question my personal ethics and moral standards, and as a Christian reflect badly on my fellow believers and on God himself.

I've said to myself many times in the last few days, "What was I thinking?"

However, what is done is done and I can only say this isn't how I've lived my life or what I believe.

I apologize to the citizens of Moffat County. I made a mistake.

Tom Gray

Moffat County Commissioner

— Law enforcement officers and firefighters responded to a Moffat County elected official's home earlier this month based on a report of smoke.

Craig Fire/Rescue Chief Bill Johnston was reportedly the first firefighter on the scene and issued a stand-down page when he discovered Moffat County Commissioner Tom Gray was burning trash the night of July 5 in an incinerator at his home on North Colorado Highway 13.

During a June 29 special county commission meeting, Gray voted in favor of Resolution 2012-81, which banned all open fires in Moffat County, a move made in response to one of the worst wildfire seasons in state history. As the commission's acting chairman, Gray signed the resolution.

During the June 29 meeting, Gray questioned whether the ban was necessary.

Moffat County Sheriff Tim Jantz said his deputies conducted an investigation into the July 5 burning, but did not cite Gray.

“My deputies looked at every possible option, but could not come up with a charge that would stick,” Jantz said. “Had they been able to do so, he (Gray) would have received a citation just like anyone else.”

Gray doesn't believe he acted negligently.

“If I thought it was dangerous in any way, I wouldn’t have lit it,” he said.

He justified the burn by citing that it was raining July 5 and his incinerator was contained.

Click here to read the rest of the story from the Craig Daily Press.

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