What to watch for: Fourth of July fireworks in New Mexico

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Fourth of July is on a weekday so people will probably celebrate this weekend and light off some fireworks.

Before you buy them and do that, refresh yourself on safety. Fireworks can cause serious injury or even death, if not used responsibly, and Fourth of July is notorious for that.

“The reason that is so important is we have sometimes seen irresponsible use or unsafe use that has created hazards. We have had some fires that have been created from fireworks. We are trying to prevent that potential from ever happening. That is our number one priority,” said James Fuller, a safety expert at TNT Fireworks.

Fire concerns are another thing as we are experiencing volatile conditions. Make sure you stay away from grassy areas. Also, remember, the bosque and any other Open Space areas are off-limits for fireworks.

“It could just take a small simple spark to ignite even a large fire,” said Bernalillo County Fire Rescue Lt. Robert Arguelles.

As you can imagine, the Fourth of July is a busy time for fire departments – not just with potential fires but with cracking down on illegal fireworks.

If you want to know if your fireworks are legal, check the label.

“If that firework has a warning label, it is illegal. A caution label indicates it is most likely going to be legal and fall within the set parameters of what we were asking people in the Albuquerque-Bernalillo County area,” Lt. Arguelles said.

Among the fireworks not allowed in Bernalillo County are aerial devices such as Roman candles or missile-type rockets. It also includes ground devices such as bottle rockets and firecrackers.

Getting caught with illegal fireworks can result in a citation of $500 and businesses can even get shut down. BCFR will also be out doing more patrols over the weekend.

Ultimately, they want to help ensure people are staying safe. One West Side neighborhood saw Monday night what dangers fireworks can pose.

Here are some things to remember to stay safe with legal fireworks:

  • Have a working hose and/or bucket of water nearby in case of an emergency
  • Never shoot fireworks from a metal or glass container
  • Light one firework at a time
  • Never approach or try to reignite a firework that doesn’t light the first time
  • Soak your used fireworks in a metal bucket overnight, outside and away from anything flammable

You also shouldn’t give fireworks to young children and remember drinking and fireworks don’t mix. They’re also scary for pets, as local shelters often see a lot of animals run away from home after fireworks scare them.

The Albuquerque Animal Welfare Department is offering free microchipping for your pets through July 3. You can do that at either the Westside or Eastside animal shelters.

There are other things you can do to keep your pets calm. Walk your dog during the day before the fireworks go off, close windows and curtains to muffle the sound and put on some music or the TV to mask the sound.

Finally, you might want to ask your vet about using CBD, calming treats and anxiety vests for your pet(s).

The City of Albuquerque’s animal shelters will be closed on the Fourth of July, except for admissions and reclaims. Those departments will be open from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Most reclaims can be processed on this day, many for free. Credit cards won’t be accepted, appointments aren’t required and normal operations resume July 5.

Lucky Paws Adoption Center, in the Coronado Center, will reopen July 6.

If you find a stray animal, remember these things:

  • Stray finders should have the pet scanned for a microchip at either a veterinary clinic or any of Animal Welfare’s 2 shelter locations (no appointment is necessary).
  • Animal Welfare has 34 pet microchipping scanner locations around the city, click here to find these locations.
  • Stray finders must report the found pet to Animal Welfare by calling 311
  • Stray finders can ask neighbors and post flyers where the pet was found
  • Stray finders should visit Pawboost to post information about the pet they have found
  • Finders are also encouraged to post information on other social media outlets such as Facebook. NextDoor, CraigsList, etc.
  • Looking for a Lost Pet? Please visit Animal Welfare’s website, Pawboost, Facebook, and other social media outlets for found pets
  • For feral cat information, please contact Street Cat Hub for assistance at (505) 247-9357