County commission reverses course, bans fireworks

County commission reverses course, bans fireworks

From the Las Vegas Optic

The San Miguel County Board of Commissioners voted to ban certain types of fireworks at a special meeting Monday, reversing a decision made by the commission earlier this month.

Citing concerns about fire danger and prolonged drought conditions, the commission voted unanimously to restrict the sale and use of “missile-type rockets, helicopters, aerial spinners, stick-type rockets and ground audible devices” within unincorporated areas of San Miguel County.

The commission’s reversal on its previous decision to allow fireworks is related to the state’s worsening drought and a high danger of fire that has increased with days of hot and dry weather conditions across New Mexico.

Addressing concerns that state law would prevent the commission from banning fireworks within 20 days of the Fourth of July, the commission agreed that state law allows local governments to ban fireworks due to hazardous fire conditions.

While a specific list of banned items was not immediately made available, New Mexico statute allows for the specific fireworks mentioned to be banned when there is a high danger of fire.

The commission also discussed a similar ban already in place within the city limits of Las Vegas. Items already banned in Las Vegas include “aerial devices” like aerial spinners, helicopters, mines, missile-type rockets, roman candles, shells and stick-type rockets, according to legislation posted on the city’s website.

Last week, after the commission’s initial decision to allow fireworks, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed an executive order urging cities and counties to consider banning the retail sale of fireworks until drought conditions improve as a measure to prevent wildfires.

Also at Monday’s meeting, the commission rejected a bid for a water tender vehicle for the Rowe Fire Department because the vehicle wasn’t equipped with four-wheel drive and because the bid didn’t meet other necessary requirements.

The commission approved: a bid for a water storage system for the Cabo Lucero Fire Department; revisions to the job specifications for County Manager Joy Ansley; and an addendum to a contract with a company that maintains and repairs the county’s vehicles and equipment.

The commission is scheduled to meet again July 13 for a regular meeting.