In April, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed an executive order calling on New Mexico cities and counties to ban fireworks in response to wildfires and ongoing drought conditions. The city council reportedly approved the measure too close to the fourth July recess. Under the law, a proclamation restricting fireworks due to drought conditions must be issued “at least 20 days before a holiday for which fireworks may be sold.” County Fire Chief Shannon Cherry said the county fire department will have additional paid and volunteer staff in areas of the county where bushfires have occurred. Cherry said fireworks in unincorporated areas of the county must apply for a permit to sell legal fireworks. He said the district fire department would hire additional staff to conduct booth inspections to ensure compliance with the county ordinance. Anyone witnessing the use of illegal fireworks is asked to call the Non-Emergency Number of the Mesilla Valley Dispatch Authority, 575-526-0795. To report an emergency, call 911. The Las Cruces City Council has declared an extreme drought that limits where legal fireworks will be allowed in the city over the next thirty days. The county commission also voted to temporarily ban specialty dealers in the county from selling aerial fireworks and ground hearing aids that cannot be sold by any company other than a specialty retailer. Specialty merchants are generally only allowed to sell to residents of Doña Ana County, and these fireworks cannot be used in the county`s jurisdiction. “It`s about keeping our citizens safe,” Commissioner Susana Chaparro said at the meeting. The restrictions are necessary, she said, due to drought conditions, high temperatures and irresponsible behavior of some people who use fireworks.
Since fireworks purchased outside Las Cruces may be prohibited in the city, it is recommended to own and unload fireworks only in the jurisdiction where they were purchased. The penalty for the use and/or possession of prohibited fireworks in Las Cruces may include a fine of up to $500 and/or up to 90 days in jail. LAS CRUCES – The Las Cruces Fire Department has some general tips and guidelines for the public regarding the sale and use of fireworks. “I know it`s a big task every year because there are so many fireworks brought in from different communities and across state borders, across county boundaries, things like that. So I know it`s going to be difficult,” Vasquez said. “And yes, we`re in one of the worst years of fire I`ve ever seen.” According to the county`s proclamation, fireworks are only permitted within the jurisdiction of the county with permission. LCFD will plan increased patrols to combat the illegal use and possession of fireworks. Citations could be issued and confiscation of illegal fireworks is allowed. According to the proclamation, legal fireworks can only be used on barren soil, paved areas, and areas where a water source is available.
The proclamation prohibits the sale and use of acoustic and terrestrial equipment. The ban includes sales by Bowlin Travel Centers, Inc., which, as a specialty retailer, was authorized to sell previously banned fireworks in the county to buyers who could prove they were not county residents. Bowlins Old West Trading Post is located about 15 miles west of Las Cruces near Interstate 10. The Las Cruces Fire Department and Police Department will plan to increase patrols to target illegal fireworks, issue citations and confiscate. Anyone who witnesses the use of illegal fireworks is asked to call 575-526-0795. For an emergency, call 911. “Our goal now is to clarify as much as possible what fireworks are allowed and allowed, and what our safety message is to our citizens,” Smith told city councillors, adding that city employees would work via social media to educate the public and vendors. While Las Cruces City Council intended to respond to a 30-day measure limiting the use of municipal fireworks at its June 21 meeting, the item had to be removed from council`s agenda during the meeting.
The proclamation restricts the use of fireworks under county law in the same way as the city had intended.