Two Eddy County fireworks vendors said restrictions placed on the sale and use of certain fireworks in Carlsbad and Artesia were appropriate responses to the prolonged drought gripping Eddy County.
“It’s kind of common sense right now that we’re in a drought, it’s a given,” said Bobby Arnett, manager of Roswell based Amy’s Fireworks.
City councilors in both communities passed resolutions May 24 restricting aerial fireworks and ground audible devices in the city limits of Carlsbad and Artesia.
The votes came nearly a month after Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed an executive order urging counties and municipalities to ban retail sales due to numerous fires and severe drought across New Mexico.
An April 25 press release from the governor’s office stated New Mexico’s executive branch cannot implement a statewide ban on fireworks. The executive order followed implementation of statewide fire restrictions prohibiting fireworks, outdoor smoking, campfires, and open burning for all non-municipal, non-federal, and non-tribal lands.
Arnett said fireworks vendors and government agencies agreed to legislation passed decades ago allowing restricted use and sales of certain fireworks due to extreme or severe drought.
He said the legislation offered a “life-line” for vendors like Amy’s Fireworks who can stay in business even though certain sales are restricted.
“We can open it’s just a matter of what we can sell,” Arnett said.
He said sales of items like sparklers and snappers were legal.
James Anderson, a fireworks expert with TNT Fireworks, said the nationwide company dealt with drought conditions in other states besides New Mexico in 2022.
“There are times when we have to take precautions. We’re all sitting in the same place,” he said. “We understand and respect the decisions made by local leaders.”
Fuller said fireworks sales in New Mexico would begin June 20 and said TNT encouraged the safe and responsible use of fireworks.
“We’re worried about illegal fireworks use. We don’t want fire departments called needlessly to deal with children or adults that use poor judgement,” he said.
Fuller said fireworks allowed for sale in New Mexico should be lit on a concrete surface.
After use he said people should let the detonated material cool off for 20 minutes and then place used ordinances in water.
“Fireworks need to cool off and give them a bath,” Fuller said.
Water should be drained and used fireworks should be placed in a plastic bag and disposed in a garbage can.
Arnett and Fuller said all of New Mexico is desperate for rainfall due to the ongoing drought.
“Everything relies so heavily on water. Everything is so dry,” Arnett said.
Fuller said decent amounts of rainfall between now and Fourth of July could result in the the loosening of restrictions.
“This drought has been ongoing since 2000. Last year we had a good monsoon season,” said Senior Meteorologist Paul Pastelok of Pennsylvania based weather forecasting company AccuWeather.
He said New Mexico and other western states were in the third year of La Nina, or periodic cooling of ocean surface temperatures in the central and east-central equatorial Pacific.
“(La Nina) usually brings on severe droughts,” Pastelok said.
He said New Mexico could see some short relief once the summer monsoon rainy season starts in late June.
“The monsoon is driven by the sun heating up the land and the Pacific Ocean at different rates, with land surfaces warming more quickly than the ocean,” read a climate report from the University of Arizona.
Pastelok said this year’s monsoon event across New Mexico, which lasts nearly four months, may not be as wet as last years.
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