Officials urge holiday caution

By Tonya Garner: CNJ staff writer

As Curry County residents prepare to light the barbecue grills and set off fireworks in celebration of Independence Day, county officials urge citizens to act responsibly.

Curry County Undersheriff Doug Bowman said the Sheriff’s Department will be patrolling to ensure citizens are observing the fireworks ban. Bowman said deputies will be citing individuals who are in possession of unauthorized fireworks as well as confiscating the fireworks.

“We (Sheriff’s Department) have a zero-tolerance policy in effect,” Bowman said. He also cautioned parents against leaving children unattended around fireworks.

According to Bowman, the dry weather conditions in the area should also be considered.

“People need to pay attention to their surroundings,” Bowman said.
The Undersheriff said soil or pavement are ideal locations for shooting off fireworks. “If you have a grassy location, then have a water hose or fire extinguisher nearby.”

Capt. Karen Burns, fire prevention officer with the Clovis Fire Department, said the safest way to enjoy fireworks is for families to visit a public fireworks display.

Clovis’ fireworks event, “Smoke On the Water,” begins at 9 p.m. at Greene Acres Park.

Burns also urged residents to be aware of fire dangers while cooking out, warning against using lighter fluid on an open flame. “The flame can flashback up into the container and explode,” she said.

New Mexico Transportation Secretary Rhonda Faught said she would like to caution area residents who plan to use alcohol as part of the Fourth of July celebrating. According to Faught, the New Mexico Department of Transportation has launched the July Super Blitz, which is a period of enhanced law enforcement activity. She said officers will be working overtime to stress to anyone planning to use alcoho lremember to designate a driver.