BernCo Commission bans open fires and fireworks


Bernalillo County – The Bernalillo County Commission voted to ban open fires and fireworks in unincorporated areas of the county outside of Albuquerque city limits. Open burning is any fire that is not in a confined space such as a campfire or brush pile. The fireworks ban limits the sale and use of aerial fireworks.

Bernalillo County Fire Chief Greg Perez said current dry conditions and an ongoing extreme drought have created circumstances requiring restrictions.

“The current drought situation is simply dangerous,” said Bernalillo County Fire Chief Greg Perez. “It’s not just the mountains, the wastelands are extremely dry, as are the fallow fields and the bosque. It’s quite a powder keg.

Key factors in determining the ban on burning and fireworks include:

  • Bernalillo County currently has areas listed by the National Integrated Drought Information System for severe, extreme, or exceptional drought
  • The National Weather Service notes that New Mexico and much of the western United States are in a two-decade mega-drought considered the most extreme drought in the past 1,200 years.
  • The National Weather Service predicts the drought will persist through July 2022
  • Daily temperatures averaged 2 to 3 degrees above normal, worsening the drought
  • The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association predicts above-average temperatures for the foreseeable future
  • Warmer than normal temperatures and prolonged drought are drying up fuels at an accelerated rate

In addition, commissioners approved the closure of all East Mountain County open space and other facilities that adjoin forest service lands.

“Protecting our people, our pets and human life on our precious lands is our top priority,” notes Charlene Pyskoty, county commissioner for District 5. “We simply cannot risk any type of devastation as the county works with state, local and federal governments to protect our community.”

Bans and closures will remain in effect until further notice.

The closures and precautions were passed by the commission on a 3-0 vote. Commissioners Debbie O’Malley and Steven Michael Quezada were excused.

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