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BernCo Commission Votes to Ban Open Burning and Approves Fireworks Restrictions in Unincorporated Bernalillo County

06/10/2020

The Bernalillo County Commission voted Tuesday night to ban the use of open fires, campfires, and smoking in the unincorporated areas of Bernalillo County. In a second resolution, the Bernalillo County Commissioners voted to restrict fireworks in the unincorporated areas of the county, outside the city limits of Albuquerque.

The fire danger across Bernalillo County is expected to be very high to extreme this fire season, due to current extreme drought conditions, above normal temperatures, below normal precipitation and the snow pack is well below normal.

The National Weather Service predicts this drought will persist through August 2020.

“The open burning ban and the fireworks restrictions are necessary to reduce the risk of wildland fires, which pose a threat to humans, wildlife, timber, vegetation, and property,” says Bernalillo County Fire Marshal Keith Clark. “The county may issue extensions to these resolutions if extreme or severe drought conditions continue and make those extensions necessary.”

The open burn ban goes into effect immediately and will be in effect for 180 days.

In the second resolution, commissioners voted to ban the sale and use of aerial fireworks in the unincorporated areas of Bernalillo County and banned the sale and use of all fireworks in all of the wildlands in the unincorporated areas of Bernalillo County.

The wildlands include unincorporated areas East of Louisiana Boulevard to the west face of the Sandia Mountains and from San Antonio north to the Pueblo of Sandia; all the East Mountain areas, north, south and east to the county line and portions of the unincorporated areas to include the Rio Grande bosque and wildland areas extending 1,000 feet from the outer edge of the Rio Grande bosque.

The restrictions limit the use of ground and hand-held sparkling and smoke device type fireworks that are limited to areas that are paved or barren. There should also be a readily accessible source of water (a bucket of water or a hose) for use to extinguish the fireworks.

The restriction bans the sale or use of display fireworks.

The fireworks restrictions are in effect for the next 30 days.

If an individual is caught with prohibited fireworks, a citation could be issued and the individual may have to appear in court. Violators could be fined up to $1,000 and sentenced to less than one year in jail. If it is determined that the use of fireworks was the cause of a fire that damaged property, the responsible individual may be held liable for those damages.

To report someone using illegal fireworks, call 505-798-7000 or to report a fire call 9-1-1.

The resolutions each passed on a 5 to 0 vote.

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