By Steve Hansen
QCS Managing Editor
Most fireworks are fine, as long as they don’t fly.
That’s what Tucumcari City Commissioners decided Thursday as they passed a resolution to prohibit sale or possession of most airborne fireworks in the face of dry conditions due to continuing drought and at the urging of Gov. Susana Martinez.
According to the resolution, “missile-type rockets, helicopters, aerial spinners, and stick-type rockets” are prohibited in the city.
The ordinance would not affect the annual Elks Lodge fireworks display, Mayor Robert Lumpkin pointed out.
On May 12, the governor sent letters to cities in New Mexico asking them to place restrictions on fireworks sales, due to enhanced fire danger from drought conditions throughout the state. The letters cited the state’s Fireworks Licensing and Safety Act, which allows local government to restrict fireworks sales, provided they do so at least 20 days before a holiday for which fireworks are sold. The commission acted on June 12, one day before the June 13 deadline listed in the governor’s letter.
Before the commission voted unanimously to approve the ordinance, there was a public hearing. The only person to speak at the hearing was Roy Dumas, who sells fireworks in the city and had questions about what specifically he could not sell.
Despite recent rains, Lumpkin said, conditions could return to very dry before July 4, Independence Day.
In supporting the measure, Comissioner Rick Haymaker said he had learned out of 16 grass fires that had occurred in the city in recent years, nine started on July 4. In addition, he recalled a fire that caused heavy damage to a house on First Street a few years ago that started when a bottle rocket hit the house, igniting a blaze that burned inside the house to its attic.