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Posted on: June 23, 2020

First Responders Work to Reduce the Risk of Fires and Other Emergencies during the Upcoming Holiday

The Fourth of July is a time of celebration for communities across the nation. Family picnics and other outdoor activities are on the agenda for many in Rio Rancho. The tradition of using fireworks to celebrate America’s Independence Day has created additional risks of starting fires in open fields, yards, and the Rio Grande Bosque. Rio Rancho Fire and Rescue (RRFR) and the Rio Rancho Police Department (RRPD) will have personnel staged and on patrol during the holiday to help keep you safe.

The City of Rio Rancho prohibits fireworks that go higher than 10 feet and are louder than a cap gun. Any fireworks that do not meet this standard are deemed illegal and anyone caught in possession of them and/or using them will be subject to a citation and possible penalty. This violation carries a potential fine of up to $500 and/or jail time of up to 90 days. Igniting fireworks, starting or maintaining any fire, or smoking in the Rio Rancho Bosque is prohibited by City ordinances at all times. Those found in violation of these restrictions can face a fine up to $500, 90 days of jail time, or both. The City of Rio Rancho has had a ban in place regarding all of the types of fireworks it can legally prohibit under state statute. Only changes to state law would give the city the authority to ban the sale and use of currently legal fireworks in the community.

Illegal Fireworks Patrol 

Fire personnel from RRFR along with officers from the RRPD will again be patrolling the City’s streets this year. They will be on the lookout for anyone selling, in possession of, and/or using fireworks that are deemed illegal. City representatives will seize, take, remove or cause to be removed at the expense of the owner all stocks of noncomplying fireworks offered or exposed for sale, stored or held in violation of city ordinance. In addition to the fire/police teams patrolling for illegal fireworks, RRFR will also deploy fire engines throughout the City to patrol for illegal fireworks and be ready to respond to any reports of fire.

Report 

If you believe illegal fireworks are being sold or used in Rio Rancho, please contact the public safety non-emergency telephone number, (505) 891-7226. Look for the “Safe and Sane” label when purchasing fireworks as these do not fly or explode. If you purchase fireworks in the city of Rio Rancho, the Fire and Rescue Department has inspected and approved all fireworks vendors to assure that the "Safe and Sane" criteria has been met.

Drive-In Fireworks Extravaganza

The City of Rio Rancho encourages citizens to attend a public fireworks display, rather than risking an injury or potential fire with the use of fireworks at home. The City’s free Drive-In Fireworks Extravaganza event will take place at City Center on July 4. The fireworks show will start at approximately 9:00 p.m., with parking in the City Center area beginning at 7:00 p.m. Please visit www.rrnm.gov/july4 for more information about the event and restrictions.

Other Patrols

During the holiday, RRFR will deploy members of the department’s Wildland Strike Team to provide severity patrols of the Rio Grande Bosque and other high-risk areas within the City’s jurisdiction.

RRFR will also add staffing of specially-trained rescue technicians to provide stand-by for potential river rescues. The Rio Grande is running at historically-high levels and the spring runoff is creating dangerous conditions on the river. Multiple rescues have been performed by area firefighters during the past month after rafters and others recreational users in the Rio Grande became stranded or were in distress.

Outdoor Burning Ban

Due to the recent high temperatures, low humidity, and winds, the risk of wild fires is extreme in Rio Rancho. In addition, the Governor recently announced that the State was experiencing drought conditions. Starting on Wednesday, June 24, RRFR is banning any outdoor burning until weather conditions improve with the arrival of the monsoon season.

Personnel from RRFR and RRPD are ready to respond if an emergency occurs. We ask that residents be fire-wise and safety-conscious this holiday season and keep their eyes out for signs of smoke or fire, or other incidents that may occur. Please report incidents immediately by calling 9-1-1.

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