While Bungler-in-Chief Obama was in El Paso “getting in their faces” (i.e., of Republicans) at a stage-managed campaign event, the incompetents of his administration’s Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATF) were doing their best imitation if Jim Carrey’s “Fire Marshall Bill” character in North Texas. As the Plainview Herald reported, a BATF training exercise went awry, and the resulting wildfire scorched another 150 acres of the drought-devastated Texas panhandle. The blazes have been extinguished, but the Herald’s editor writes that the federal fiasco is far from over:
Motley County Attorney Tom Edwards said the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms could face charges for violating the county’s burn ban after their actions started a fire that scorched an estimated 150 acres in the northwest part of that county on Tuesday.
Edwards called the incident ironic and inexcusable.
“We have the federal government that has just refused aid to the state of Texas for all our fire damage throughout the state, and then here comes federal agents who start another fire,” Edwards told KCBD-TV.
Jim Luera, resident agent in charge for the BATF in Lubbock, took full responsibility for the fire after his agency detonated explosives that touched off a grass fire that quickly got out of hand. It took close to six hours for firefighters from five area volunteer departments – Motley County, Floydada, Turkey, Roaring Springs and Flomot – plus heavy equipment from the Texas Department of Transportation to extinguish the fire.
BATF’s resident agent in Lubbock say the Bureau will will reimburse landowners who were affected by the blazes for their losses. Don’t expect any heads to roll over this SNAFU. Any charges that may or may not get filed would be for violation of the county’s burn ban, which is just a Class C misdemeanor. The maximum penalty is a $500 fine.
At the American Thinker Blog, Phil Boehmke comments:
At a time when the ATF and Eric Holder’s DOJ are embroiled in controversy stemming from their “Gun Runner” and “Fast and Furious” campaigns which have increased the flow of firearms across the border into Mexico, it seems the height of incompetence to intentionally detonate explosives in a region which has already suffered from a series of devastating wildfires. What could the ATF possibly have been thinking?
Perhaps when the ATF conducts its next training exercise they should check with the White House to make sure that all necessary precautions are taken. I’m thinking if they were to build a moat around the site it could contain the damage and prevent the destruction of private property.
The Obama Administration continues to demonstrate that competent governance is way above the pay grade of everyone from the president on down to local BATF flunkies. You would think that especially after the recent wildfires did so much damage to the Lone Star State that someone would have checked with the county just to make sure that a burn ban wasn’t in effect.
But this is the same administration, remember, that gave a safety award to Transocean, Inc., the company which was partially responsible for the Deepwater Horizon/BP oil spill. While we’re not by any stretch of the imagination Bush cheerleaders, it should be noted that the administration which preceded all that Hope and Change cited Deep Water Horizon six times for safety violations. Yet Team Obama bestowed an award for safety on it. We hesitate to ask what else can possibly go wrong before the voters send the community organizer back to The Windy City.