Moisture will help keep fire danger low for upcoming holiday

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FARMINGTON — The recent snowfall around San Juan County will help residents safely launch fireworks to ring in the New Year following a summer during which local governments restricted fireworks as the area dealt with drought conditions.

The storm, which brought inches of snowfall across the county on Friday, will help keep the fire danger low, according to San Juan County Fire Department Chief Craig Daugherty.

Aztec, Bloomfield, Farmington, Kirtland and San Juan County governments took steps during the summer to restrict the sale of certain fireworks amid concerns they could ignite a fire that could spread quickly.

The city of Bloomfield relocated its annual holiday fireworks display on July 5 in response to concerns about dry vegetation.

"Fireworks always present a hazard for people that don't handle them correctly," Farmington fire Chief David Burke said.

Daugherty encouraged people who purchase fireworks to wait until New Year's Eve to launch them and to take steps to ensure they don't start a fire.

Residents should clear the area where they will be launching fireworks of vegetative material that could be ignited, he said.

Daugherty added children should have adult supervision when fireworks are being launched.

Burke advised residents to avoid consuming alcohol while using fireworks.

He also asked residents to show respect for their neighbors and said the noise generated from fireworks can be a disruption for pets.

The American Pyrotechnics Safety and Education Foundation suggests using fireworks outdoors and away from any buildings. It also suggests launching them from a hard, flat, level and fireproof surface free of debris.

The foundation also suggests keeping a bucket of water or working garden hose nearby, along with keeping spectators at a safe distance from where the fireworks are being launched.

Joshua Kellogg covers crime, courts and social issues for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627 or via email at jkellogg@daily-times.com.

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