COUNTY LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES SET TO ENFORCE FIREWORKS RULES

COUNTY LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES SET TO ENFORCE FIREWORKS RULES

As the Fourth of July holiday approaches, the Doña Ana County Sheriff’s Department and Fire Marshall’s Office are preparing for patrols throughout the county to monitor compliance with state fireworks laws. Officers also will cite litterbugs who leave trash associated with fireworks along roads and highways in the county.
County Fire Marshall Adolf Zubia said particular attention will be focused on the south valley communities of Chaparral and Santa Teresa.
“The problems we see every year in the Chaparral and Santa Teresa areas are caused by the fact that fireworks are illegal in the City of El Paso,” Zubia said. “The City of El Paso does a good job of keeping most of the fireworks out of their community. This in turn creates the problem for our communities when El Pasoans come to Doña Ana County to buy fireworks and discharge them along the road sides.”
Zubia said his staff and the Sheriff’s deputies on patrol will enforce all laws, including keeping revelers from discharging fireworks within 150 feet of firework stands.”
In addition to Sheriff and Fire Marshall patrols, the volunteer fire districts in both Chaparral and Santa Teresa will man their stations during the holiday season and they will station their apparatus in strategic locations to expedite response times, Zubia said.
Zubia said he receives numerous complaints each year about fireworks, but by state statute, the county is unable to completely ban most types of fireworks except during severe or extreme drought conditions.
“This year's drought indices show us nowhere close to be in a drought condition,” Zubia said. “What we are currently enforcing is the state statute language, which allow fireworks to be discharged from June 20 to July 6. Issues that have come up before include the question of whether an individual can discharge fireworks 24 hours a day. The answer is, yes, they can, even though we recognize that it becomes a noise or nuisance issue in the late evening and early morning hours.”
Under state law, Zubia said, permissible fireworks include ground and hand-held sparkling and smoke devices, such as cones, fountains, crackling devices, cylindrical fountains, flitter sparklers, ground spinners, illuminating torches, toy smoke devices and wheels. The statute also permits flying devices such as aerial spinners, helicopters, mines, missiles-type rockets, roman candles, shells and stick-type rockets. Standard firecrackers also are allowed.
Zubia said anyone who uses fireworks should do so respectfully and responsibly, and he offered the following safety tips: 1) Always purchase fireworks from a reliable source; 2) Follow all label directions carefully and use common sense; 3) Never point or throw fireworks at another person; 4) Remember that fireworks can start fires; 5) Keep a water supply handy near homes and a fire extinguisher or a shovel and loose dirt in remote areas; 6) Children should never use fireworks without the close supervision of a responsible adult; 7) Never throw fireworks from or at a vehicle; 8) Treat all duds as live fireworks and soak all misfires in water before discarding them.
For more information, call county Public Information Director Jess Williams at (505) 647-7229. Residents calling from outside the Las Cruces area may call toll-free at 1-877-827-7200 and request extension 7229.