We are in yet another extremely dry and dangerous fire season here in New Mexico. Because of this, Bernalillo County and Albuquerque officials restricted the use of fireworks. But they can’t ban them completely. Read about why in this week’s NewsCity.
The Albuquerque Fire Department announced that the sale and use of aerial fireworks and ground audible devices are prohibited within city limits. It is illegal to use any fireworks in the Bosque or any Open Space area. AFD advises that fireworks should only be used on paved or barren areas and with a readily available water source.
The only permissible fireworks are ground and handheld sparkling devices, cone fountains, crackling devices, cylindrical fountains, flitter sparklers, ground spinners, illuminating torches and wheels.
In 2011, AFD responded to more than 945 illegal fireworks calls during the Fourth of July weekend. Albuquerque Fire Chief James Breen says, “Any one of these incidents could have turned into a deadly fire just because somebody was acting carelessly.”
Bernalillo County issued fireworks restrictions for all unincorporated parts of the county. Bernalillo banned the sale and use of fireworks that shoot sparks or pieces higher than 10 feet or further than a 6-foot radius, or are louder than a cap gun.
Last year, both Gov. Martinez and Mayor Richard Berry became frustrated with their inability to ban fireworks completely. They both lobbied the Legislature unsuccessfully to pass a bill that would allow local authorities to completely ban fireworks during extreme fire danger.
Two major wildfires have already destroyed large areas of the state. The Whitewater-Baldy Complex in the Gila Wilderness is the largest fire in size in state history. The Little Bear fire in Lincoln County near Ruidoso destroyed hundreds of homes.
Stay updated about blazes in the state at NMfireinfo.