Are we being treated as IDIOTS?

That’s my takeaway from the July 22, 2014 Angel Fire Village Council meeting when the Wildfire Protection Committee representative, as he held two crossed fingers in the air, told some 40 or so of us Village idiots that the only reason we hadn’t burned ourselves up with a wildfire was luck.  I hadn’t realized that in th past 71 years I had only escaped being roasted by a wildfire due to luck, and I was such an idiot, I needed them to manage for me, and tell me to cut down healthy trees!

Mayor Cottam and other Village Council members seemed shocked at the meeting turnout of approximately 40 Angel Fire property owners, since they usually see less that half a dozen.

The Wildfire Committee presented their plan to Village Council recommending, among other things, Village law be amended to require property owners cut down enough trees on their lots so there would be 30 FEET of daylight between tree branches.  They recommend the Village hire a Forester to enforce this law.  Anyone that doesn’t comply with the law will be fined $100/day until they cut their healthy trees down.

Many of we Village idiots spoke out in strong protest, thinking what we said was credible and should make a difference!  Obviously we idiots were confused, thinking we could manage our own property and keep it from burning up, without the direction of the Village tree police.

It seemed the only ones at the meeting in favor of this plan were the Wildfire Protection Committee member making the presentation and a few of the Village Councilors.  More or less 4 in favor and 40 against.  AAFPO President Mike Woolley said 99% of the feedback he has heard oppose the plan, and would rather see a voluntary “Dead, Diseased and Down” policy encouraged, not this plan and not enforced by law.  AAFPO board Director Bubba Davis also spoke out against the plan as it was presented and also recommended a “Dead, Diseased and Down” policy.  Many of my fellow idiot property owners spoke up,some imploring to just leave our property alone!

I had first heard about this Wildfire Protection plan a week earlier, and began extensive online research. I found no other comparable ski village that enforces or even has such extreme tree thinning laws except Ruidoso. Breckenridge had an enforced plan but rescinded their law within a year after it’s passing due to property owner protests. (link to my research findings here)  (Link to Breckenridge’s current voluntary Wildfire Protection Plan here)

Taos, Red River, Monarch, Vail, Aspen, Beaver Creek, Steamboat, Breckenridge, the list goes on, DO NOT require property owners to over thin their property.

Please attend as many future Wildfire Committee meetings as you can.  You may want to learn how the Village tree police will properly manage your property so that you don’t burn yourself up in a wildfire!

Contact committee Chairman Rick Sprott with your views and meeting schedule.(Chairman Sprott’s eMail)



Contact Village Mayor and Council with your views.


Pat McCarty

35 Year Angel Fire Property Owner