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Fireworks Restrictions Bill Clears Committee

on February 21, 2013 - 9:03am

Two ignited pinwheels consisting of a powder-filled spiral tube mounted with a pin through its center that rotates quickly, producing a display of sparks and colored flame when ignited. Courtesy/Wikipedia

STATE News:

SANTA FE – By a vote of 6-5, House Bill 373 “Local Governments Fireworks Restrictions” has passed the House Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

HB 373 sponsored by Rep. Emily Kane (D-Bernalilllo-15), changes the standard for local government fireworks restrictions – it is not based on drought conditions only.

The bill also authorizes the Forestry Division of Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department to restrict the sale and use of fireworks in high, very high or extreme conditions of fire danger as determined through the National Fire Danger Rating System.

There is a great deal of concern about the upcoming fire season, because of the lack of snowfall and precipitation.

The damage from wild fires results in significant costs to federal, state and local governments, not to mention the potential loss of life and wildlife. Rep. Kane, who is a firefighter herself, says “HB 373 helps ensure public safety by giving local governments the ability to restrict the sale and use of fireworks.” She adds, “2012 was the most active fire season on record, and this bill is an important tool in keeping our communities and wild lands safe and fire free.”

House Bill 373 would allow municipalities and counties to:

  • Ban the sale and use of aerial and ground audible devices during certain fire danger conditions
  • Restrict the use of other types of fireworks to paved or barren areas or areas with ready access to water
  • Ban the use of all fireworks within wild lands after consultation with the State Forester
  • Ban or restrict the sale or use of display fireworks
  • If extreme fire danger exists, may ban the sale or use of any type of fireworks.
  • Issue a proclamation:
  • no fewer than 20 days before a holiday for which fireworks may be sold
  • to include provisions on the restricted and permitted sale or use of fireworks
  • effective for 30 days
  • may issue a succeeding proclamation and may modify or rescind a proclamation before the 30 day expiration.

Kane says she understands the reluctance from the Fireworks Industry to support HB 373 and is hoping to address some of its concerns. HB 373 now heads to the House Judiciary Committee.

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