Las Cruces City Council passes strict fireworks restrictions

Las Cruces City Council passes strict fireworks restrictions

LAS CRUCES, N.M. - The hot weather is just starting to roll in. With that dry heat comes fire danger.

The Las Cruces City Council unanimously passed fireworks restrictions for the next 30 days.

Under the new restriction, fireworks will be banned from areas with brush, grass or timber.

"Just one spark in these types of conditions can set off an entire fire. It's a chain reaction. It goes from one small fire to one big fire," said Las Cruces Fire Marshal Ted Sweetser.

These are the same restrictions the city passed last year. It's the strictest fireworks rule they can pass. Under state law, the city cannot completely ban fireworks.

"If it was within my power right now, we would evaluate different parts of the state, and if we had that extreme danger, which we do right now, we would eliminate the use of fireworks until such time that it changes," Gov. Susana Martinez told ABC-7.

Two fires in northern New Mexico are burning thousands of acres of land. Firefighters are still struggling to get flames under control.

"We have a lot of people working on fires who cannot afford to have a third catastrophic fire within the state so we've got to be very careful and not use fireworks," Martinez said.

Even Las Cruces saw its own brush with fire danger. Last Friday, a brush fire started near I-10 and Motel Boulevard.

Fire officials believe the fire was started by people camping in the area.

"The winds pushed that fire all the way down the freeway. It took us three hours to put that fire out because of the winds, the dryness of the trees and the overall conditions. We also had some obstacles. It was on a hill, and there was a lack of water out there for us," Sweetser said.

The decision to restrict fireworks was easy for the City Council.

"The way we celebrate it with fireworks is very special and something I enjoyed as a child, I also think the lives of our firemen, the property values and all of the things that can be in danger," said city councilor Greg Smith.

Las Crucens who spoke with ABC-7 agree.

"I feel good about it with the conditions we're in, we're talking about the drought of a century. It makes sense," said Las Crucen Steve Rose.

The 30-day restriction will expire just before July 4. Sweetser said if drought conditions continue, he will ask the city to extend restrictions. He said it's likely the restrictions will be in place for the holiday.

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