DROUGHT PROCLAMATION ISSUED, FIREWORKS RESTRICTIONS IN PLACE

DROUGHT PROCLAMATION ISSUED, FIREWORKS RESTRICTIONS IN PLACE

            At the request of Fire Marshal Robert Monsivaiz, the Doña Ana County Board of Commissioners has issued a 30-day proclamation declaring extreme drought and fireworks restrictions throughout Doña Ana County.

Once sales begin, Doña Ana County Sheriff's Department deputies, State Police officers and county fire officials will issue citations related to the possession or use of illegal fireworks. Each citation carries a fine of up to $300 and/or 90 days in jail.

 “This will be a no-leniency enforcement effort designed to enhance community safety,” said Monsivaiz. “The Doña Ana County Board of Commissioners passed this ordinance in 2009, and the 2014 drought proclamation underlines the danger this year. We’ll be committing resources heavily this year.”

Officers from all participating agencies will confiscate illegal fireworks and work to identify vendors who are not in compliance with local restrictions.

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, 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.