Bernalillo County Fire Department Urges Caution
Bernalillo County is currently experiencing near record breaking heat that can have a tremendous effect on the dangers presented by fireworks, and the fuels available to burn. Residents should take measures to reduce the dangers of fires. Trim tall grass, move firewood away from the outside walls of the home and cut branches that hang over homes.
“With the Fourth of July just around the corner, we have the added danger of fireworks being an ignition source,” said Bernalillo County Fire Chief Chris Celaya in a press release.
Residents are urged to attend public fireworks displays instead of purchasing fireworks this July Fourth. Officials say people who purchase illegal fireworks and bring them into Albuquerque are placing the community at risk.
There are no restrictions on legal fireworks this year; however, the sale, use, and possession of aerial type fireworks, missile-type rockets, helicopters, aerial spinners, stick-type rockets, and ground audible devices are still illegal within the unincorporated areas of Bernalillo County. Unincorporated Bernalillo County is the geographic area outside the city limits of Albuquerque.
Also banned are the sale and use of display fireworks. The ban applies to the use of fireworks that shoot higher than 10 feet in the air, have a 6 foot or larger coverage area and fireworks that are louder than a cap gun.
The use of fireworks in the wildland areas of Bernalillo County is always prohibited.
The wildland areas are defined as the Pajarito Mesa areas west and south to the county line and the East Mountain Area, north, south, and east to the county line. Additional wildland are those areas east of Tramway Boulevard to the west face of the Sandia Mountains and from San Antonio north to the Sandia Indian Reservation. 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.
In 2016, the city’s firefighters received more than 2,300 illegal fireworks calls during the July Fourth holiday weekend. More than two dozen citations were issued.
If an individual is caught with prohibited fireworks, a citation could be issued, the fireworks may be confiscated and the individual may have to appear in court. Violators could be fined up to $1,000 and sentenced to less than one year in jail.
If it is determined that the use of fireworks was the cause of a fire that damaged property, the responsible individual may be held liable for those damages.