New Mexicans Still Buying Fireworks After Governor Urges Them Not To
It's that time of year again. Big tents are going up all over the place selling fireworks for the Fourth of July.
New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez recently spoke out, urging local authorities to ban fireworks and New Mexicans to visit public displays rather than do their own.
Fireworks vendors in New Mexico are upset about Martinez's message. They told ABC-7 they're afraid her message will hurt business.
"I think we're treated like a second-rate business personally. When fires cause less than one percent of wildfires in New Mexico I think it's a little extreme," said Jimmy Nevarez, whose family owns the Planet Fireworks chain in New Mexico.
Nevarez said he understands the need for a ban on certain fireworks in specific areas, but does not think the bans need to be increased.
"It's not as dry as it was last year. Last year we were in a severe drought, this year we're only in moderate," Nevarez said.
In the town of Mesilla, fireworks vendors are allowed to sell aerial fireworks and fire crackers that are banned just a few miles away in Las Cruces and Doña Ana County.
Vendors within the city limits of Las Cruces told ABC-7 they still have to turn customers away.
"They've been coming in asking if we have Black Bats, things that pop, aerials and we have to tell them we don't have those, which is hard because that's turning away money and business. It's difficult. It takes a lot of business away," said Kody Clark, a Planet Fireworks vendor in Las Cruces.
The fireworks ban is nothing new. Both Las Cruces and Doña Ana County have had them in place for at least five years.
According to the New Mexico Forestry Division, fireworks only account for a fraction of all state fires.
"I also think that our consumers are a lot smarter than our legislators seem to think they are and that they'll use them responsibly," Nevarez said.
Nevarez said customers who come in to buy fireworks usually ask for safety tips and precautions.
The Curry family, who live in Mesilla, told ABC-7 they're already working hard to make their home safe for fireworks this year.
"I raked up all the pine needles around our house so nothing can get into those and light them," 10-year-old Ben Curry said.
Curry said he'll be wearing goggles and have a water hose handy when he sets off his fireworks.
"It's fun shooting off all the fireworks, coming here and buying it, and it's just a fun holiday to watch all the explosions. I'm kind of a pyromaniac," Curry said with a laugh.
Copyright 2012 KVIA. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.