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Updated: Governor Declares State of Emergency

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06/29/11 12:38 p.m. Governor Susana Martinez declared a State of Emergency in New Mexico through July 6th regarding the use of fireworks, according to a news release from her office.

While State law does not allow the Governor to ban fireworks by executive order, she is urging all New Mexicans to refrain from buying, selling, or using fireworks during the dry summer fire season and has instructed the Department of Public Safety to increase staffing of officers and coordination with local law enforcement agencies to enforce all statewide and local fireworks bans or restrictions.

“The conditions in New Mexico are simply too dangerous for anyone to buy, sell, or use fireworks this summer,” said Governor Martinez. “This order increases the number of State Police officers who will be available to support local communities in enforcing the bans or restrictions put in place by both the State and local governments. This is a reminder to all New Mexicans that there can be serious consequences for violating fireworks restrictions.”


06/28/11 3:10 p.m. Gov. Susana Martinez will seek and support legislation in this fall’s special legislative session that would give “cities, counties, and the state the authority to enact more comprehensive and total bans on fireworks during high fire-danger circumstances like we are facing now,” spokesman Scott Darnell told the Journal this afternoon.

A special session is expected in September to deal with redistricting and other issues.

A decades-old New Mexico law prohibits state and local governments from issuing a total ban on the sale and use of fireworks, though Albuquerque and other jurisdictions have banned the most dangerous types, said John Standefer, the state’s fire marshal.

Albuquerque has taken all the steps it can under the law to ban fireworks, such as barring aerial fireworks, such as bottle rockets, and “ground audible” fireworks, such as firecrackers. The city also has imposed stage II fire restrictions in the bosque and open spaces, which bars any open flames or fireworks.

The law, called the Fireworks Licensing and Safety Act, also requires local governments to issue a formal drought declaration, based on scientific data, before it can take steps such as barring fireworks from public lands, Standefer said. Check with your local city or county government to find out what fireworks restrictions apply in your area.

For more discussion about the state law and fireworks, see the Wednesday issue of the Albuquerque Journal.

 

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