Fireworks are great fun on the Fourth of July. In Albuquerque, fireworks are set off in a series of public displays at the baseball park and other large events. But what if you want to set off your own display?
Fireworks are allowed in Albuquerque with some restrictions, so it pays to know what the city Fire Marshal has in mind.
Fire Alert: Fire Restrictions
Since the 2013 season has an extreme chance of fire danger, officials are urging everyone to be alert in the bosque and foothills. Both are partially closed. The open space areas in the East Mountains are closed. Established paths and levee roads remain open.
An open burning ban is in effect within the city and the unicorporated areas of the county. The Sandia and Mountainair Ranger Districts have imposed closures. The Mountainair district is completely closed. The Sandia district will have several areas, trails and roads open during the closure. The Sandia Peak Tram and facilities will be open, but access to Forest Service lands at the top of the tram are not allowed. Visitors are confined to the observation deck only. Open trails in the Sandia district are portions of Forest trail 365, including secondary trails outside of the Sandia Mountain Wilderness and south of the Tram.
Open roads are Forest Road 242 and 413.
All Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District lands are in complete closure in Sandoval, Valencia and Socorro counties. The closure does not include Sevilleta, Bosque del Apache, La Joya Refuge the village of Corrales and Pueblo lands.
Stage II Restrictions are in place. There will be NO:
- Building, maintaining or attending of fire, campfire, charcoal, coal or stove fire
- Smoking except within a closed building or vehicle (and no flicking of butts into brush or bosque!)
- Using expolsives
- Discharging firearms, air rifle, or gas gun
- Operating chainsaws or other equipment powered by internal combustion
- Operating or using internal or external combustion engines without a spark arresting device that is properly installed, maintained and in working order
- Welding or operating acetylene or other torch with an open flame.
What fireworks are allowed?
Fireworks that can be bought, sold and discharged within the city limits are:
- Cone fountains
- Crackling devices
- Cylindrical fountains
- Flitter sparklers
- Ground spinners
- Illuminating torches
- Toy smoke devices
What fireworks are not allowed?
No ground audible devices are allowed within city limits. This includes chasers and firecrackers.
No audible devices are allowed. This includes:
- Aerial spinners
- Missle-style rockets
- Roman candles
- Stick type rockets
The Albuquerque Fire Department will patrol Albuquerque streets to ensure fireworks safety. They will also man the Illegal Fireworks Hotline, (505) 833-7390 if anyone needs to report illegal fireworks. On July 3 and 4, calls should be made to (505) 833-7335; do not call the 7390 number on those days.
Consequences of Illegal Fireworks Use
If someone is caught with illegal fireworks, possession results in a citation. Items will be confiscated. Use of or possession of these devices results in a mandatory court appearance for a misdemeanor. Illegal fireworks misdemeanors result in fines up to $500 and 90 days in jail.
There is a ban on some fireworks in the unincorporated areas of Bernalillo county because of severe drought conditions. The ban encompasses areas east of Tramway Boulevard to the western face of the Sandia mountains, from San Antonio north to the Sandia reservation, the east mountain area and within 1000 feet of the Rio Grande bosque.
The ban includes the sale and use of missle-style rockets, helicopters, aerial spinners, stick-type rockets and ground audible devices. All fireworks are restricted in the wildland areas that include the unicorporated areas east of Louisiana Blvd. to the west face of the Sandias; from San Antonio north to the Sandia reservation; all the east mountain area; north, south and east to the county line and portions of unincorporated areas to include the Rio Grande bosque and wildland areas extending 1000 feet from the outer edge of the bosque.
Sale and use of display fireworks are banned. No fireworks that shoot higher than 10 feet or have a 6 foot or larger coverage area, and those that are louder than a cap gun. Ground and hand-held sparklers are limited to paved or barren areas. Water should be nearby to extinguish fireworks.
Anyone caught with illegal fireworks will be issued a warning and be given a court appearance. Penalties include a $1000 fine or a sentence up to one year in jail. If the illegal use of fireworks causes a fire, the person responsible may be liable for any damages.
How to Tell What Kind of Fireworks You Have
If you purchase your fireworks within city limits, look at the label on each device. If the label reads "CAUTION" it is legal; if it reads "WARNING," it is illegal. Fireworks are required to be labeled by law.
The Fire Marshal has advice for purchase and use of fireworks:
Purchase only legal fireworks and buy from someone trustworthy.
Always keep a bucket of water nearby, or be by a water source.
Adults should always supervise fireworks displays.
Use caution. Set up the fireworks outdoors in a clear area that is far from trees, vegetation, dry areas, and materials that are combustible.
Never set off fireworks on or near your car.
Always read the directions that come with fireworks.
Light fireworks one at a time.
Put used fireworks in a bucket of water.
In case of a fire, leave the area immediately and call 911.
NEVER make your own fireworks. Don't take the powder from several fireworks to make a bigger device. It's dangerous.
Reasons for Precautions
What kinds of injuries occur due to fireworks? Fireworks can cause blindness, third degree burns, and permanent scars.
The eyes, hands, head, face and ear are the most likely areas to be injured.
Fires can be started with fireworks, leading to loss of life, home, and wildlife.
Be safe if setting off fireworks displays. The safest way to see them is to visit a professionally run fireworks event. See if there's one near you.
Have a happy, fun and safe Fourth of July!