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courtesy of HowStuffWorks

Fires may rage, but many fireworks are still legal

Fire Department isn't considering tightening the current ordinance

June 15, 2011, 5:30 pm
By Joey Peters

Despite two raging fires on opposing sides of New Mexico and a recent outdoor burn ban in Santa Fe, the city fire department isn't considering tightening a ban on fireworks, Santa Fe Public Information Administrator Carla Lopez tells SFR.

The city's ordinance on fireworks bans all that "are not self-propelling" and don't "extend above fifteen feet in height from the ground." But that still leaves room for weight-limited snakes, illuminated torches and sparklers, among many others.

It's been enough to prompt five people to call the mayor's office and complain about it in the past two weeks. 

A local business owner for 25 years who prefers not to be named ("It's a small town," she says) called the fire department after hearing kids playing with fireworks in her neighborhood two nights ago. That got her to check the ordinance, which surprised her by the amount of leeway it grants to pyro-enthusiasts.

"I was shocked to find out they haven't banned fireworks," she says. "It's so dry here that when you put water on the ground, it doesn't set down, it beads up."

But the fire department, who didn't return phone calls from SFR, thinks that the current code is "very reasonable," Lopez says.

"They've had extensive discussions about whether or not to add further restrictions and decided not to," Lopez says. "They figured that picking and choosing would drive more people to illegal fireworks."

So residents are still allowed to stock up on legal fireworks as the Fourth of July looms. Still, city officials would probably rather they attend the fireworks display that day at Santa Fe High School instead.

Update: Santa Fe County Commissioners took matters into its own hands by voting to tighten its existing fireworks ban earlier this week. The new ordinance bans fireworks that shoot in the air and "ground audible devices" like firecrackers for 30 days within Santa Fe County. All fireworks are banned in wildland areas. The commission cited "extreme or severe drought conditions" as the reason.

 

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