CARLSBAD, N.M. (KRQE) — Although parts of the state recently received some much needed rain, Eddy County officials said it just wasn't enough.
The county commission voted to ban certain fireworks this year.
We're getting closer to that time of year, and Eddy County leaders want Fourth of July celebrations to be as safe as possible. So, on Tuesday, county commissioners voted for a partial fireworks ban.
"Chasers, basically bottle rockets, Roman candles, the kinds of things that are short duration but can fall on the ground and start a fire are the things that are in the ban," explained Eddy County Emergency Manager Joel Arnwine.
Arnwine said the ban limits fireworks sales as much as state law allows.
In the last eight to 10 days, Eddy County has seen 3-4 inches of rain. Arnwine said it's helped grass grow in places it hasn't grown in a while, which isn't necessarily a good thing.
"If it grows a little bit and then dries out, and it becomes hot, dry and windy and that grass then turns brown and dies, it becomes another fine fuel that can carry fire," Arnwine said.
So limiting those fuels is a priority this summer.
Another way officials are trying to promote a safe holiday is by encouraging people to attend professional fireworks shows. It's something much of the community supports.
"We come down here every year and watch the big show as it is, and I have no intention this year of setting them off because of where I live," said Carlsbad resident, Audra Cooksey.
Carlsbad and Artesia hold big July 4th fireworks displays with professional pyrotechnics and emergency crews readily available.
Cooksey has seen first-hand the fire hazards in the county.
"I've seen fires up and down the highway from people throwing even so much as a cigarette out the window," she said. "All it takes is a couple days of hot weather and we are an immediate fire starter all over again."
Arnwine said limiting the sparks this year shouldn't douse the fun, just keep it a bit safer.
The Eddy County Commission will evaluate the drought conditions at its next meeting on June 6. Commissioners will determine then if they need to extend or rescind the fireworks ban.
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New Mexico is located in the southwestern region of the U.S. Inhabited by Native American populations for many centuries, New Mexico has also been part of Imperial Spain, part of Mexico, and a U.S. territory.