Los Alamos Fire Chief Troy Hughes announced today that the Fire Department has reached a decision regarding the annual Independence Day celebration sponsored by the Kiwanis Club.
“Unfortunately, the long-range forecast does not indicate that we are going to receive any significant rainfall anytime soon,” Hughes said. “Therefore, we have reached the difficult decision that we will not issue the permit that would allow the fireworks display to proceed on July 4. We continue to be at extreme fire danger conditions and the risk is too great. While we know that many will be disappointed in this announcement, our top priority has to be the safety of the public.”
Hughes said that he spoke with Kiwanis Board members this morning about his decision. Plans to have a festival prior to the display at Overlook Park – as has been the case for many years with booths, games, music and food – are also being canceled.
Hughes said that organizers for the event had been meeting with the County for the last few weeks regarding plans and had been informed early on about the possibility that the significant lack of moisture could lead to a cancelation. The 4th of July event is one of the most significant fund-raising events sponsored each year by the Kiwanis Club, and fireworks have already been purchased. They will be stored until next year.
Board members said today that this was a joint decision made in full cooperation with the fire department.
“The Los Alamos Kiwanis Club fully supports the Fire Chief’s decision and is thankful for the coordination and cooperation with the County Staff and Fire Department,” Kiwanis Club Chair Stephen Boerigter said. “We encourage everyone to celebrate our nation’s birth in a safe manner. We recognize that we live with freedoms and opportunities that not everyone can experience.”
Hughes said the decision to cancel the public fireworks permit should be a serious reminder to the community that any use of fireworks can pose a serious fire risk.
The County Council passed a proclamation earlier in June banning the sale of fireworks and prohibiting the use of aerial fireworks, but Hughes said even fireworks that are designed for ground use can cause a problem if not supervised and used correctly. Because of State laws, fireworks cannot be banned completely, but Hughes said it’s up to the community to help keep Los Alamos safe.
“As your Fire Chief, I implore members of our community: don’t use fireworks here. Find another way to celebrate the 4th of July this year. Be vigilant, too, for anyone using banned aerial fireworks. Educate your friends and neighbors about the restrictions. Please keep your family and others in this community safe from the threat of a possible wildfire caused by fireworks during the holiday. We need your help and support,” Hughes said.
To review the proclamation about fireworks restrictions, click here: https://www.losalamosnm.us/news/fireworks_restrictions_in_effect