Firework Regulations and Safety
The city of Rio Rancho prohibits fireworks that go higher than 10 feet, travel outside a 6-foot radius and are louder than a cap gun. In addition, igniting fireworks, starting or maintaining any fire, or smoking in the Rio Grande Bosque area in Rio Rancho is prohibited per city ordinances.
For a number of years, the city of Rio Rancho has had a ban in place regarding all of the types of fireworks it can legally ban under state statue. The fireworks that can be purchased and used in the community are those that are allowed by state law and cannot be banned by the city. Only changes to state law would give the city of Rio Rancho authority to ban the sale and use of currently legal fireworks in the community.
When purchasing fireworks, be sure the vendor is licensed and inspected. Purchasing fireworks from vendors does not always mean that they are legal for use in the city limits. If you believe illegal fireworks are being used in Rio Rancho, please contact the Police Department’s non-emergency telephone number, (505) 891-7226.
Penalties for violating the city’s ordinances pertaining to fireworks include a fine up to $500, 90 days of jail time, or both. In addition, fireworks in violation of the city’s municipal code can be seized by city public safety personnel.
The current weather patterns over the past year have created a severe drought situation in the Southwest. New Mexico has already experienced several significant wildland fires, including the largest fire in the state’s history. Wild fires can move very quickly and homes located near open space are vulnerable to damaging fires.
Lack of rain and high winds have caused tinder-dry vegetation in open space areas, forests, and along the Rio Rancho Bosque area. This has created a very high fire danger, especially when fireworks are added to the equation.
Although fireworks are a traditional part of any Fourth of July celebration, improper use of them, or using illegal fireworks can start a fire and potentially damage our beautiful open spaces and homes. Sparks or embers from fireworks can light grasses, weeds and trees on fire. When fanned by high winds, the destruction can be significant. Something as innocent as a sparkler can create enough heat and sparks to cause a fire.
Safety Tips When Using Fireworks
With so many large wild fires burning in the Southwest, it is important to practice safe handling of fireworks during this holiday season.
The Rio Rancho Fire and Rescue Department and the New Mexico State Fire Marshal are asking citizens to have a safe and enjoyable time this year by offering you these safety tips:
ALWAYS read and follow the label directions.
ALWAYS have an adult present when handling fireworks.
ALWAYS buy from a reliable fireworks vendor.
ALWAYS ignite fireworks outdoors.
ALWAYS have a water source handy.
ALWAYS light one firework at a time.
ALWAYS store fireworks in a cool, dry place.
ALWAYS dispose of fireworks properly.
ALWAYS use fireworks in an area clear of any vegetation.
NEVER light fireworks in the Bosque or in the National Forests.
NEVER hold a lighted firework in your hands.
NEVER re-ignite malfunctioning fireworks.
NEVER give fireworks to small children.
NEVER experiment with or attempt to make your own fireworks.
NEVER throw fireworks at another person.
NEVER carry fireworks in your pockets.
NEVER shoot fireworks in metal or glass containers.
Thank you for keeping these tips in mind this holiday season and let's all be fire safe!