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Drought conditions lead to firework restrictions, concerns
FARMINGTON — Seasonal firework sales will begin June 20, and drought conditions have prompted local governments to restrict fireworks.
The cities of Farmington and Bloomfield have ordinances banning every firework they can legally ban.
During a City Council meeting Monday, Bloomfield Fire Chief John Mohler said these include any firework that makes a loud noise or shoots up more than 10 feet into the air.
The cities are encouraging people to watch public firework displays rather than spending their money on fireworks.
"I love fireworks as much as anybody, but it's real dangerous," Mohler said. "Everything's a little more dry than normal and if you burn your neighbor's house down, it's your responsibility."
Smoke from wildfires in Colorado has impaired air quality in northwest New Mexico. Wochit
A list of legal fireworks can be found at fmtn.org/631/FIREWORKS.
Both Farmington and Bloomfield are asking people to go to public displays rather than shoot off their own fireworks. Bloomfield Municipal Judge Sadie Smith-McDaniel said if people start a fire through use of fireworks they could be fined up to $500 and may face up to 90 days in jail.
Bloomfield is also looking for an alternate location for its city sponsored firework show on July 5 where it is less likely to spark a blaze. Mohler said Bloomfield is looking for a place with less bosque-type vegetation.
Farmington passed a resolution Tuesday restricting where people can set off fireworks in city limits.
Fireworks can only be set off on pavement or dirt lots with no vegetation. The area must have access to water.
“We’re in exceptional drought conditions,” said Fire Chief David Burke. “We’re in extreme fire danger.”
Burke urged people to use extreme safety precautions this year if they choose to set off fireworks.
“We have seen some fires in the county that have been difficult to extinguish,” San Juan County Fire Chief Craig Daugherty told the Farmington City Council.
The county and the city have both banned burning and restricted firework use.
“We don’t want to get to the situation that we’re seeing to the north of us today,” Daugherty said, referring to the 416 Fire and the Burro Fire burning in southwest Colorado.
The city will have a firework display July 3 and San Juan County is working with Tommy Bolack to ensure his firework display on July 4 does not spark any fires.
Aztec banned fireworks and open burning during its Tuesday evening meeting. The resolution was on its consent agenda and was approved without discussion. Information about the bans can be found at aztecnm.gov/fire/FireRestrictions.pdf. The Aztec City Commission meeting can be viewed on the city’s YouTube channel.
Hannah Grover covers government for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652 or via email email@example.com.