FIREWORKS ENFORCEMENT ON TAP FOR HOLIDAY SEASON

FIREWORKS ENFORCEMENT ON TAP FOR HOLIDAY SEASON

In the interest of public safety during extreme drought conditions, the Doña Ana County Fire and Emergency Service Department and the Doña Ana County Sheriff's Department will work closely with other law-enforcement agencies during the upcoming July 4 holiday weekend to strictly enforce all laws pertaining to the sales, possession and use of fireworks.

While there is no provision to ban firework sales outright, close attention will be paid to how they are sold and subsequently discharged.

Due to the drought, Doña Ana County has banned the use of all fireworks within areas that are covered wholly or in part by timber, brush or native grass. Permissible fireworks can only be discharged in areas that are paved, barren or that have a readily accessible water source.

Permissible fireworks allowed to be purchased and discharged are ground and hand-held sparkling and smoking devices, including cone fountains, crackling devices, cylindrical fountains, illuminating torches, toy smoke devices and wheels.

Fireworks prohibited for possession, sale or use in the unincorporated areas of Doña Ana County are aerial and ground audible devices such as aerial spinners, helicopters, mines, missile-type rockets, Roman candles, shells, stick-type rockets, chasers and firecrackers.

Fireworks purchased in Mesilla and the City of Anthony may not be legal to possess or discharge outside those municipal limits. Illegal use of such fireworks will result in citations or fines. Fireworks may not be sold to anyone under 16 years old, nor to anyone who is intoxicated.

The Doña Ana County Fire and Emergency Services Department advises that a safer Fourth of July holiday can be achieved by following, at a minimum, these firework safety guidelines:

* Keep a water supply – a garden hose and/or a bucket – handy in case of fire.

* Be aware that extreme drought conditions have left grasses and weeds susceptible to fire.

* Keep in mind the hour of usage and be considerate of your neighbors.

* Never let children light fireworks.

* Use fireworks outdoors only and keep them away from combustibles and busy areas.

* Light only one item at a time and move away from it.

* Purchase fireworks only from a licensed vendor.

* Follow all label directions carefully and use common sense.

* And please help keep Doña Ana County beautiful by cleaning up debris from fireworks.

For more information on fireworks, and fireworks safety, call the Doña Ana County Fire and Emergency Service Department at (575) 647-7921.

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Reporters seeking more information or interviews: may call county Public Information Director Jess Williams at (575) 525-5801.