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Fire department urges fireworks safety

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Fireworks sales began June 20 in New Mexico, so the Las Cruces Fire Department (LCFD) is reminding consumers of general guidelines and safety tips for the upcoming Independence Day holiday.

 By state law, fireworks can be sold from June 20 through July 6.

 Fireworks allowed to be purchased and discharged within Las Cruces city limits are ground and hand-held sparkling and smoking devices such as cone fountains, crackling devices, cylindrical fountains, flitter sparklers, illuminating torches, smoke devices and wheels.

Fireworks prohibited for possession, sale or use within city limits are aerial and ground audible devices such as aerial spinners, helicopters, mines, missile-type rockets, Roman candles, shells, stick-type rockets, chasers and firecrackers.

 Since fireworks purchased outside Las Cruces may be prohibited within the city, it is advised to possess and discharge fireworks only in the jurisdiction in which they were purchased. The penalty for use and/or possession of prohibited fireworks in Las Cruces can include a fine of up to $500 and/or up to 90 days of incarceration.

 Rules and safety guidelines include:

  • Purchase fireworks only from a licensed vendor within the municipality they will be used.
  • Fireworks may not be sold to anyone who is intoxicated or younger than 16.
  • Children should never use fireworks without close adult supervision.
  • Keep in mind the hour of usage and be considerate of your neighbors.
  • Limit use of fireworks to the outdoors, away from combustibles and only on paved or barren land.
  • Light only one pyrotechnic at a time and move a safe distance away while it ignites.
  • Follow all label directions carefully and use common sense.
  • Do not manipulate or otherwise use fireworks in a way that is contrary to the manufacturer’s labeling.
  • Have a reliable water source, such as a garden hose, available while discharging fireworks.
  • Soak used fireworks in a bucket or tub of water and safely dispose of all spent casings and debris.
  • Pet owners are encouraged to secure their dogs and cats indoors when fireworks are discharged.

It is recommended that lighting fireworks only be done on paved or barren surfaces such as asphalt, concrete or dirt with no vegetation nearby. Otherwise, an immediate water source is required where the fireworks are being used. As of May 19, the New Mexico state forester has prohibited use of fireworks on lands covered wholly or in part in timber, brush, grass, grain or other flammable vegetation.

LCFD will schedule increased patrols to target illegal use and possession of fireworks. Citations could be issued, and the confiscation of illegal fireworks is authorized.

 Anyone who witnesses the use of illegal fireworks is asked to call Mesilla Valley Dispatch Authority’s non-emergency number, 575-526-0795. To report an emergency, call 911.