Gov. Susana Martinez’s recent request that local governments resist fireworks means cities and counties can ban the sale and use of firecrackers and aerial fireworks like roman candles and bottle rockets, and restrict the use of cones, fountains and sparklers by limiting them to paved areas or places where water is easily available.
The leading company that sells fireworks in Albuquerque said Monday that it not only got Martinez’s message, but is pushing it on their consumers.
“We understand the governor’s concerns and we’re concerned also,” TNT Fireworks vice president of western store sales Ken Delfeld said Monday. The company operates 15 tents around Albuquerque, with the Fourth of July and New Year their biggest times of year.
“When you have dry weather you need to take precautions. We’re telling the public to buy products in your local community so that you know they’re legal and they’ve been approved. Once you’ve done that, make sure you have a water source handy, and use your fireworks on a dry, barren spot on your driveway, and you’ll be fine.”
At four fireworks booths around town, shoppers sounded as aware of the risks to the environment as the vendors selling them were aware of the governmental recommendations and the rules.
“Two years ago, (you’d see) 250 people in one day,” said Phil Edmon, who manned at a booth near San Mateo and Montgomery. “Now they’re discouraging people because they’re conscious of the drought, and that’s understandable.” A hundred people in a day is now more like it, said Edmon, who has sold fireworks in Albuquerque for 16 years.
He knows the difference between what he can sell and what he can’t: Items that are contraband include “artillery shells, stuff that goes over 11 feet high, stuff that sounds louder than a .22 pistol,” he said.
Issac Moya, 35, and his family were making their second trip to a fireworks tent near Central and Coors on a recent afternoon. The plan for him, his wife Alexis Moya, 30, and their two kids, 19 months and 9: “Light them in our driveway, pull our hose out just in case.”
According to Delfeld, that behavior is on trend: “During dry times, I noticed that shoppers take precautions, but they still continue to buy. Our sales are on track,” he said.
What’s different about this year is hesitancy, said Robert Watson, who worked at a TNT booth near Coors and Glenrio, with those who have been coming in were unsure whether there would be anything for them to buy.
“A lot of people have wanted to know if there’s a ban because it’s so dry,” he said.