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AFR responds to 370+ calls on the Fourth

Firefighters extinguish a car fire after a crash Saturday night that sent one person to a hospital. Albuquerque Fire Rescue officials say “far too many” illegal fireworks were set off throughout the holiday weekend. (Anthony Jackson/Albuquerque Journal)

Copyright © 2020 Albuquerque Journal

Albuquerque Fire Rescue teams responded to over 370 calls for service during the Fourth of July and reported no major fires in the bosque or in the foothills.

But at a news conference Monday, they made it clear that they nevertheless had their hands full responding to 77 fires, 35 of which were brush fires and 30 were trash fires, 11 structure fires, one car fire, and 298 calls for emergency medical service.

The fireworks enforcement unit recorded 2,270 illegal firework reports, went to more than 90 locations and issued 55 cease-and-desist orders.

“There were far too many illegal fireworks set off in city parks throughout the holiday weekend. This puts our precious public spaces at risk,” said city Parks & Recreation Director Dave Simon.

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While patrolling for illegal fireworks, members of Albuquerque\’s police and fire departments assist with a motor vehicle accident that sent one to the hospital late Saturday night. (Anthony Jackson/ Albuquerque Journal)

“It’s extremely dry. Fire danger is extremely high.”

In July 2019, Albuquerque’s 311 recorded 2,286 calls of fireworks. That number more than doubled for 2020’s Fourth of July at 5,035. About 75% of the reports filed were done through the city’s 311 app or online.

“Our main goal was to hand out those cease-and-desist orders, and to educate them on what is legal and illegal,” said Deputy Chief Fire Marshall Gene Gallegos.

The department did not issue any $500 citations this Fourth of July.

Illegal fireworks that were confiscated will be disposed of by the Albuquerque police bomb squad.

For residents with leftover fireworks, AFR officials are recommending that residents do not shoot them off.

“We don’t want to destroy our city at all. We’re very vulnerable right now and very dry,” Gallegos said.

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