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Commission approves fireworks restrictions

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Firework enthusiasts will need to attend a public display on July 4 if they want to get their fill of pyrotechnics.

Bernalillo County commissioners on Tuesday voted to establish a fireworks ban in unincorporated areas of the county.

The restrictions ban use of all fireworks in wildland areas which include unincorporated areas east of Louisiana Blvd. to the west face of the Sandia Mountains and from San Antonio north to the Sandia Pueblo reservation; all the East Mountain area, north, south and east to the county line and portions of the unincorporated areas to include the Rio Grande bosque and wildland areas extending 1,000 feet from the outer edge of the bosque.

“As you are well aware, the drought is continuing,” Bernalillo County Fire Marshal Keith Clark told commissioners. “It’s gotten much worse, and we’re very concerned about the citizens and natural resources we have here in Bernalillo County.”

The order bans the sale and use of missile-type rockets, helicopters, aerial spinners, stick-type rockets and ground audible devices. The use of ground and hand-held sparkling and smoke device type fireworks are limited to areas that are paved or barren with a readily accessible source of water. Albuquerque Fire Rescue officials recommend having two 5-gallon buckets or a charged garden hose handy for extinguishing fireworks.

The ban is effective immediately and will remain in force for 30 days.

City of Albuquerque ordinance permanently prohibits sale and use of aerial fireworks and ground audible devices within city limits.

Commissioners in April ordered a ban on the use of open fires, campfires and smoking in unincorporated areas of the county and proclaimed extreme or severe drought conditions.

State statute requires municipalities and counties to proclaim extreme or severe drought conditions within 20 days prior to a holiday when fireworks are sold.

The burn ban 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.

Albuquerque and Bernalillo County are under extreme drought conditions, according to the latest U.S. Drought Monitor map produced by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

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