Extreme fire danger from the ongoing drought prompted local officials Tuesday to remind the public that certain fireworks are not just illegal within the city, but are dangerous this year.
Officials urged those who want to enjoy July Fourth firework shows to attend group gatherings, such as the popular City of Roswell and Roswell Sertoma Club 2013 Michael Satterfield Memorial Fireworks Extravaganza at Cielo Grande Recreation Area.
“We urge people just to come out and enjoy the fireworks show the Sertoma Club and Fire Department put on every year,” said Fire Chief Bill Wells. “It’s one the greatest shows in the state.”
City ordinance does not allow residents to shoot off any rocket-launched or ground fireworks, such as Black Cats and Saturn Missiles, within city limits, though the sale of the devices is allowed in Chaves County.
Residents can be cited, but most people cooperate if approached, Wells said.
“We try to educate people,” Wells said. “If we get a complaint, we have somebody stop by and make sure the resident knows there is an ordinance that prohibits firecrackers in city limits. Generally, people are good with it.”
If the Fire Department has to return, a citation may be written.
Fireworks are also prohibited in wildland areas, including lands covered entirely, or in part, by timber, brush, grass or other flammable vegetation.
“It’s not hard for anybody to see what’s going on around us especially in the unincorporated areas of Chaves County, with how dry it is,” Wells said. “We haven’t had a significant amount of rain in four to five years. Everybody knows the conditions we are in.”
If someone chooses to disregard the rules, the most important action parents need to take is to supervise their children, Wells said.
“Most accidents happen when children play with fireworks,” he said. “They get burned. If people choose to set fireworks off, they need to have a hose ready. Don’t let kids play with fireworks. Just be smart about it.”