Zia Pueblo questioned over aerial firework sales
Posted at: 06/23/2012 8:15 AM
| Updated at: 06/23/2012 1:21 PM
By: Mike Daniels, 4 On Your Side
Just north of Albuquerque, Zia Pueblo has a fireworks stand where people can purchase dangerous fireworks, and many are worried the fireworks sold inside the tent on U.S. 550 could cause New Mexico's next wildfire.
It’s nestled on the side of the road on sovereign Zia Pueblo land, only a few miles from where the man made Romero fire burned in the Corrales bosque.
On the same day New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez and other local officials urged people to not buy fireworks this year, KOB went undercover to see exactly what kind of fireworks the Zia stand sells, and if that includes the kind that could set off a wildfire.
Sure enough, bottle rockets and roman candles were for sale.
We also found commercial grade fireworks, similar to the kind used for public shows, that go hundreds of feet in the air.
They burn hot and will burn a hole in your wallet, some of these cost hundreds of dollars each.
The fireworks are sold on sovereign land so it’s perfectly legal, but with tinder-box conditions statewide is it responsible?
We went to the Zia Pueblo Friday and asked them if perhaps they're exploiting their sovereignty at the risk of public safety.
“It's not the fireworks that start the fires it's the person setting them off, Peter Pino, Zia Pueblo Tribal Administrator said.
Pino has been the Zia Pueblo administrator for decades.
He says it's one of the few economic streams for the pueblo.
"We have faith on the people they buy the fireworks to be responsible for their actions," he said.
On Friday, New Mexico Gov Susana Martinez joined Albuquerque and Bernalillo county officials to urge people not to buy fireworks.
The county has it's own restrictions on aerial fireworks, but the governor does not have authority to ban them statewide.
With fire danger at it's highest in many places, many people are worried fireworks could set off another wildfire.
At Friday's press conference, Martinez said she’s been in talks with the pueblos.
She is hoping to come to a consensus next week that would ban the sale of these dangerous fireworks.
If you’re caught lighting them in Bernalillo County you can receive up to a $1,000 fine. In Albuquerque, if caught lighting these dangerous fireworks it could end up costing you $500.