New Mexico

Town of Mesilla prepares for busy Fourth of July weekend

MESILLA, New Mexico - In the Town of Mesilla, crews are prepping for a busy couple of days as the Fourth of July is upon us.

The restrictions in New Mexico vary depending on where you are. Fireworks vendors tell Abc-7 many Las Crucens flock here to Mesilla, where rules are more relaxed.

"Fireworks are meant to have fun with but they are dangerous," Mesilla Fire Chief Kevin Hoban said.

Chief Hoban tells Abc-7 his volunteer fire department is ready for the busy weekend. 

"We'll have shifts to do two things, one is fire supression. We'll have a standby at our fireworks display here in town while that ocurrs and then we'll be doing enforcement through our fire marshal's office. So we will be actively patrolling to basically observe what people are doing," Chief Hoban said.

He says problems come when people light fireworks where they're not supposed to.

"Especially since we've had a wetter than normal spring, we have a lot of dry grasses what we call fine fuels that are easily ignitable and can start a brush fire in just a matter of moments."

He warns not to use fireworks in unapproved ways, lighting up ice chests or bottles can cause explosions. The most common injuries come from sparklers.

"They think, this is a sparkler, it's harmless and a little kiddo will be waving it around and all of sudden they've got burns on their hands or it gets on their clothes," Chief Hoban said.

Planet Fireworks Manager Jimmy Nevarez echoes those concerns. 

"Don't light into a field with a bunch of dead grass. Be safe just practice safety. That's the biggest thing I try to stress."

Nevarez says they do everything they can to ensure safety here at their stand even printing out a list of fireworks safety tips on their plastic bags. He urges customers to keep a safe distance when lighting fireworks, staying at least 20 feet away, and handing out "Punks."

"You would just light your fuse, your ember will just stay lit so you can just hold it here on your fuse until you're certain the firework stays lit. You just step back walk away and let your firework go." 

Nevarez says another safety tip is to pop your fireworks in the same area you purchase them.

"Make sure the fireworks you buy, in whatever town, county or city you're in, in that area. That way you know for sure the laws that you're lighting are the same in that area."

Nevarez adds to pick up your trash and douse your used fireworks in water to be sure they don't set anything on fire.

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