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Bernalillo County weighs fireworks ban

The Bernalillo County Commission may vote Tuesday night to imposeĀ  a fireworks ban on unincorporated areas of the county.(Jim Thompson/Albuquerque Journal)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Bernalillo County residents wanting to set off fireworks as part of their July 4 celebration will likely need to make other plans.

County commissioners during their administrative meeting at 5 p.m. Tuesday are expected to consider a fireworks ban in unincorporated areas of the county.

If approved, the ban would include unincorporated areas east of Louisiana Boulevard to the west face of the Sandia Mountains and from San Antonio areas north of Sandia Pueblo; all the East Mountain areas, north, south and east to the county line; portions of the unincorporated areas include the Rio Grande bosque and wildland areas extending 1,000 feet from the outer edge of the bosque.

The order would ban the sale and use of missile-type rockets, helicopters, aerial spinners, stick-type rockets and ground audible devices and limit the use of ground and hand-held sparkling and smoke devices to areas that are paved or barren and that have a readily accessible source of water.

Commissioners in April ordered a ban of open fires, campfires and smoking in unincorporated areas.

Use and sale of aerial devices and ground audible devices are permanently banned in the city of Albuquerque.

The county order, which is still in effect, prohibits smoking except in enclosed buildings, within vehicles equipped with ashtrays, and on paved or surfaced roads, developed recreation sites, or while stopping in an area that is barren or cleared of all flammable material. It also prohibits campfires and recreational fires and bans heating and cooking fires except cooking or heating devices that use kerosene, white gas or propane as a fuel in an improved camping area that is cleared of flammable vegetation for at least 30 feet and has a water source.

New Mexico is coming off of its third warmest May on record as climate predictions for June show greater than average chances that the state will see above average temperatures again this month, the Associated Press reported.

State statute requires municipalities and counties to proclaim an extreme or severe drought condition within 20 days prior to a holiday for which fireworks are sold.

In 2016, commissioners established a voluntary ban in response to the Dog Head Fire that burned 17,912 acres in Bernalillo and Torrance counties. Commissioners could not establish an involuntary ban as the legislation was passed within 20 days of the July 4 holiday.

Commissioners also established a fireworks ban before the Independence Day holiday in 2014.