Fire Marshal Wendy Servey
With the upcoming Independence Day holiday just a week away, Los Alamos County Fire Marshal Wendy Servey reminds the community about the urgent need to observe basic rules and safety guidelines when using fireworks in Los Alamos County.
“We have enjoyed some afternoon rain showers this week,” Servey said, “but our fire danger threat is still fluctuating between Moderate to High, and the surrounding forested areas are very dry. We’re urging the public to make this July 4th a safe and happy holiday. Don’t let your Independence Day activities turn tragic with a sudden fire at home or by suffering an injury caused by inappropriate use of fireworks.”
The annual Fireworks Display sponsored by the Kiwanis Club at Overlook Park was canceled this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and so Servey said there may likely be more residents considering the use of fireworks on personal property.
“While I encourage everyone to find alternatives to fireworks that can be safe and fun ways to celebrate, if residents do want to participate with use of fireworks at home, there a few simple rules and guidelines to follow,” Servey said, adding that before purchasing fireworks, it’s important to know what types of fireworks are allowed for use under New Mexico State Statute.
“Los Alamos County has not adopted an ordinance regulating fireworks. However, the New Mexico State Statute, which is the Fireworks Licensing and Safety Act 60-2C7 (2007) is in effect,” she said. The statute describes permissible and non-permissible fireworks.
For convenience, Servey offered the community a quick reference chart about State guidelines and what is allowed:
The following link displays Find more details about the New Mexico State Fire Marshal Fireworks Licensing and Safety Information here.
Servey emphasized the need for safe use of fireworks, especially around small children and pets.
“Remember, just because you can legally purchase fireworks, that doesn’t mean that fireworks are safe – they are explosives and should be used responsibly,” she said, “Before shooting off fireworks, check your location. Avoid areas of dry vegetation, or areas near a forest, open space, or park. Keep fireworks away from combustible materials. A water hose or bucket should be available in case of a small fire. Children can be fascinated by fireworks and don’t understand the dangers involved; keep small children and pets out of the immediate area, and watch out for traffic if launching from personal property near neighborhood streets.”
Servey said the most frequent fireworks complaints her office receives are discharging fireworks onto property other than their own, or near or onto national forest lands or forested canyons, as well as continuous noise complaints because fireworks scare dogs and horses.
“When you are done, dispose of waste material in a safe manner and only once the fireworks are completely cool to the touch. Douse used fireworks with water if needed before placing them in trash cans. Be courteous of neighbors who may not share the same enthusiasm you have about celebrating the holiday,” she added, reminding residents that other County ordinances related to excessive noise or nuisances are still in effect and complaints can be filed.
Servey said she is happy to field questions from the public about fireworks. Individuals can contact her in LAFD’s Fire Marshal’s Office at 505.662.8301.
Servey said LAFD and LAPD patrols will be actively surveying neighborhoods as the holiday approaches and the use of fireworks increases. She urged residents to be vigilant and on the lookout for fires surrounding Los Alamos, especially along trails or canyons.
“We understand that residents want to have an enjoyable 4th of July celebration during these challenging times,” Servey said, “We just want to be sure that we are doing our job to keep the community safe from the threat of wildfires or other injuries related to inappropriate use of fireworks. We would like to thank everyone in Los Alamos for their on-going support and compliance with our existing Level II fire restrictions and encourage individuals to keep up the good work.”
To report inappropriate use or illegal fireworks, contact the Los Alamos County Police Department at the non-emergency phone number: 505.662.8222.