AFR talks precautions, safety ahead of Fourth of July

[anvplayer video=”5119065″ station=”998122″]

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — With fire danger still very high, the concern over illegal fireworks is building ahead of the July Fourth weekend.

“We had that bosque fire near Montaño a few weeks back and we saw how quickly that fire has the ability to spread with those dry conditions, said Albuquerque Fire Rescue Lt. Tom Ruiz.

Albuquerque’s bosque has already seen multiple fires this year, and people who live nearby fear the worst is yet to come.

AFR Fire Marshal Kris Romero said there will be consequences for those who break the rules.

“Be aware that if you’re caught using illegal fireworks within the city limits, you may be fined up to $500 and up to 90 days in jail,” Romero said.

However, even with more than 10,000 reports of illegal fireworks in June and July over the past two years, AFR said no one has been cited. When AFR responds to those calls, their first priority is to educate.

“‘Hey, are you aware that this is an illegal firework?’ and a lot of times, that’s enough to deter those folks,” Ruiz said. “If we continue to go out to that same, let’s say it’s a residence, right. And if there’s multiple calls for the same residents and we go out, and if our folks witness it, at that point, I do believe that the citation would be issued.

The department did hand out 55 cease and desist orders over July 3 and July 4 in 2020, and 29 orders over that same time period in 2021. However, community members wonder if that’s really enough, especially with ongoing drought conditions.

If you notice illegal fire activity this weekend, officials ask that you report it on the ABQ311 App, instead of calling 911.