State law prohibits banning of fireworks, but the City of Socorro ordinance limits the times they can be sold.
Jay Ann Cox| El Defensor Chieftain

State law prohibits banning of fireworks, but the City of Socorro ordinance limits the times they can be sold.In a departure from last year when extreme drought conditions and wildfire danger prompted restrictions, fireworks use by the public this Independence Day are allowed.

The state law is clear: NM State Statute 60-2C-7 prohibits the banning of all fireworks.

However, earlier this year, the City of Socorro amended its ordinance limiting the hours of fireworks use.

“Fireworks may only be ignited during the same time frames sales are allowed,” the amendment states. “No fireworks are to be ignited between the hours of 11 p.m. and 8 a.m., other than New Year’s Eve when fireworks are allowed to be ignited until 1 a.m. on January 1, and July 3 and 4, when fireworks are allowed to be ignited until midnight.”

State law says that a governing body can restrict or ban certain fireworks only by passing an emergency ordinance.

The existing ordinance states that “the municipal governing body’s proclamation declaring an extreme or severe drought condition shall be issued no less than 20 days prior to a holiday for which fireworks may be sold.” No such proclamation has been issued by the City of Socorro, the County of Socorro, or the Village of Magdalena for 2023.

Outside municipalities, fireworks are banned in wildlands – lands covered wholly or in part by timber, brush, grass, of flammable vegetation – but allow any type of fireworks in safe places.

The county’s ordinance is the same as the state and limits the use of “safe and sane” fireworks to areas that are paved or barren, and where there is ready access to a source of water.

State Forestry is allowing public exhibition of fireworks that are approved by local fire officials.

Currently, the fire danger for the Magdalena Ranger District of Cibola National Forest is rated High as of press time.

According to the New Mexico State Fire Marshal Fireworks Ordinance, permissible fireworks are ground and hand-held sparkling devices, cone fountains, crackling devices, cylindrical fountains, flitter sparklers, ground spinners, illuminating torches and wheels.

Some aerial devices are also legal, including aerial shell kit-reloadable tubes, aerial spinners, helicopters, mines, missile-type rockets, multiple tube devices, Roman candles, shells, and certain stick-type rockets,

The Fire Marshal’s ordinance adds that a municipality or county shall not by law regulate and prohibit the sale or use of any permissible firework except aerial devices and ground audible devices.

Extra precaution is urged when using any type of fireworks, but with holidays such as Independence Day, officials recognize that people have a need to celebrate.

Fireworks should only be used on paved or barren areas

Make sure any fire danger is kept away from homes, vegetation, and other combustible material

Place used fireworks in a bucket of water and make sure they are cool to the touch before throwing them away

Never relight a “dud” firework

Never aim fireworks at people or animals

Be courteous of those suffering from PTSD, nearby neighbors, and animals when using loud fireworks.