BLOOMFIELD — Revelers eager to celebrate Independence Day with a sparkler in hand just got a bit of good news.
After a receiving a complaint by attorneys for Burnham Brothers Year-Round Fireworks, Mayor Scott Eckstein and Fire Chief George Duncan on Sunday amended the city's fire discontinuance banning the sale and use of all fireworks within city limits.
The amended emergency order now specifies an emergency ban on "aerial devices and ground audible device fireworks," a change from the original order that prohibited "all fireworks" from sale or use.
The complaint cited state statute language that allows for the use of less explosive fireworks. Those now approved by the city include ground and hand-held sparkling and smoke devices, cone fountains, crackling devices, cylindrical fountains, flitter sparklers, ground spinners, illuminating torches and toy smoke devices, among others.
Still banned are aerial devices such as airborne spinners, helicopters, mines, missile- or stick-type rockets, Roman candles or shells. Ground audibles include firecrackers (including M-80s) and chasers.
"The city was contacted by legal representation for Burnham Brothers claiming that there was a violation of state statute that allows for things like sparklers," Duncan said. "Instead of fighting that battle, we decided to simply amend the (fire and burning) discontinuance."
The city's concerns over potential fires and injuries through the holiday are heightened by the warm, dry weather. Highs are expected to remain in the low- to mid-90s, with 15 mph winds possible throughout the remainder of this week.
Recently Bloomfield firefighters visited residences along 14 different streets that abut arroyos or are in high-risk areas for the threat of wildfires.
"During this time approximately 220 homes were provided with fire-safety brochures that describe how a homeowner may create a defensible space around their home to reduce the risk of wildfires," Duncan said. "We want the public to be aware of the potential hazards, especially under these conditions."
Beginning Wednesday, the department will step up its presence in the area by sending fire trucks on patrols throughout the city.
"We'll have mostly our volunteer firefighters aboard two or three trucks during the day and five or so at night, typically when more fireworks activity occurs," Duncan said. "We want, of course, to provide a visible presence in the community, but also to have a more rapid response should a situation happen." Burnham Brothers' frustrations over the emergency bans by the city go back several years, but co-owner Jim Burnham is pleased the city agreed to the change to allow for what he calls "safe and sane" fireworks.
"I was very pleased with their quick response," he said. "People understand fireworks can be hazardous, but most people use them in an entirely appropriate manner, respecting safety of themselves and those around them."
His family's business has been selling fireworks throughout the county for over 30 years without any incidents or injuries at any of their locations, he said.
"Sparklers are our number-one best-selling product," Burnham said. "Nice to see that Bloomfield will be able to enjoy one this Independence Day."
James Fenton covers Aztec and Bloomfield for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4631 and firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him @fentondt on Twitter.