Officials put fireworks ban in place

When it comes to the Fourth of July, things that go bang and provide sharp flashes of light are the norm.

CNJ staff photo: Kevin Wilson

Another dry summer has firework sellers and purchasers dealing with restrictions on what can be sold and used within county boundaries.

Unfortunately for Eastern New Mexico, chronically dry conditions are also part of the usual course of action and local elected officials have acted accordingly.

Indeed, county and city commissioners have given the most dangerous fireworks — and even those of lesser magnitude — the kibosh for the days surrounding Independence Day 2012.

"The action they've taken is what's allowed in the state statutes," said Curry County Manager Lance Pyle, acknowledging that county commissioners have OK'd the maximum amount of restrictions possible.

Although the far eastern portion of the state has thus far steered clear of numerous wildfires that have ravaged New Mexico, as well as neighboring Colorado to the north, officials are not dismissing the possibility of a natural calamity closer to home — thanks to drought conditions.

In the unincorporated portions of Curry County, i.e., those parts outside the purview of the city of Clovis, commissioners adopted a proclamation instituting "a complete ban on the sale and/or use of missile-type rockets, helicopters, aerial spinners, stick-type rockets and ground audible devices."

That's for a period of time from June 20 to July 6.

Inside Curry County's largest city, the ban is more specific.

The City of Clovis have deemed the following devices illegal: aerial devices such as shell kit-reloadable tubes, spinners, helicopters, mines, missile-type rockets, multiple tube devices, roman candles, shells and stick-type rockets.

Also banned this summer holiday season are ground audible devices such as chasers and firecrackers.

And the penalties for violating the fireworks ban could be stiff.

In the city, a fine up to $300 and imprisonment for up to 90 days could be levied. In county-governed areas, violators would potentially face more: fines up to $1000 and jail time up to a year.

The good news for pyrotechnic fans is that some devices are allowed. Ground and hand-held sparkling devices such as cone fountains, crackling devices, cylindrical fountains, flitter sparklers, ground spinners, illuminating torches and wheels are permissible according to the City of Clovis.

Any confusion that might exist as to what's legal or not, at least according to one local fireworks vendor, should be cleared up by what's available on the stand itself (or inside the store).

"We're fire marshal approved," said Eric Segovia, whose family-run Segovia Fireworks in Portales has been in business for 18 years.

"If there's a concern about whether it's legal or not, I tell them that the local fire marshal has inspected everything," Segovia added. "Then they feel a lot more comfortable about buying."

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