Be safe this fourth of july
We unequivocally agree with Gov. Susana Martinez, who on repeated occasions recently has said “there is absolutely no reason to buy, sell or use personal fireworks in New Mexico this summer. The potential consequences are simply too severe, and the patriotic thing to do this Fourth of July is to attend a public fireworks display or celebrate the Fourth fireworks-free.”
Patriotic to celebrate the Fourth without fireworks? This year, yes.
Right now our state, especially Valencia County, is so dry you can start a blaze with a fiery look. We enter the weekend with at least six major fires raging, including the worst fire in the state’s history. While it’s unknown if any were fireworks-related, it is known that some started with not much more than a spark.
There is no safe way to set off personal fireworks under these conditions, but while city, county and state officials would prefer an outright ban, they can’t do it because state law prevents it. All they can do is impose some restrictions, and most places have.
Generally throughout Valencia County, you can’t shoot off any firework that reaches a height of more than 10 feet or travels any distance, but even the devices that are legal — even sparklers — pose an increased fire risk. A glowing ember and a gust of wind, that’s all it takes to start a disaster.
Why take that risk for a few seconds of sparkling light? Why chance taking out your house, a neighbor’s house or acres and acres of dry trees and grasslands?
There are plenty of public shows people can attend to scratch the fireworks itch, and they’re a lot more entertaining than the lame legal fireworks available for personal use this year.
If you absolutely must set off your own legal fireworks, please be extraordinarily careful and follow all precautions. And users need to be aware that should their actions result in a fire, they can and will be billed for the full cost of the fire suppression effort. If the violators are minors, their parents will be billed.
And anyone caught using banned fireworks will be prosecuted, law enforcement officials say.
We realize a call for people to not buy or use fireworks creates an economic hardship for fireworks sellers, but under current conditions public safety must take precedence over profits.
So do the patriotic thing this year and pass on personal fireworks.