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The Doña Ana County Commission voted unanimously at its June 14 meeting to place additional restrictions on the sale of fireworks in the county because of the extreme drought conditions being experienced countywide and throughout New Mexico.
“The issue is about keeping our citizens safe and secure,” Commissioner Susana Chaparro said at the meeting. The restrictions are necessary, she said, because of drought conditions, high temperatures and the irresponsible behavior of some people using fireworks.
The proclamation approved by the commission declares “extreme or severe drought conditions” in the county and imposes the maximum restrictions possible on the sale and use of “safe and sane” fireworks within unincorporated areas of the county, County Attorney Nelson Goodin said.
Under the proclamation, legal fireworks can only be used on barren ground, paved areas and areas where there is an available water source.
The proclamation bans the sale and use of arial and ground audible devices. The ban includes sales by Bowlin Travel Centers, Inc., which as a specialty retailer had previously been allowed to sell fireworks banned in the county to buyers who provided proof they are not county residents. Bowlin’s Old West Trading Post is located about 15 miles west of Las Cruces near Interstate 10.
The restrictions and ban are effective now through July 4.
County Fire Chief Shannon Cherry said the county fire department will have additional paid and volunteer staff in areas of the county where brush fires have been experienced. Cherry said fireworks stands throughout unincorporated areas of the county must apply for a permit to sell legal fireworks. He said the county fire department will hire additional staff to conduct inspections of the stands to ensure compliance with county ordinance.