Rio Rancho cracking down on illegal fireworks with new partnership

Rio Rancho police car

RIO RANCHO, N.M. (KRQE) – Rio Rancho authorities are preparing to crack down on illegal fireworks this Fourth of July. This year, city residents have a clearer picture of the penalties.

The city has had penalties in place for those caught and convicted of using illegal fireworks for a while but just months ago, city officials updated the fireworks ordinance to spell it out and make clear you could face up to a $500 fine and 90 days in jail.

For the last several weeks, the Rio Rancho Fire Department has already been conducting inspections at all of the firework tents and stores throughout the city. They’re on the lookout for these “Safe and Sane” labels on fireworks those that are not self-propelling and do not fly higher than 10 feet.

Each of those vendors had to apply for a permit through the city clerk’s office.

Fire officials say with the Encino Fire still fresh in their minds, they’ve been keeping a very close eye out.

“The illegal fireworks can cause big fires, damage homes, properties, even lives. That’s why we are trying to educate people to look for the Safe and Sane label and to purchase them within the city of Rio Rancho,” said Jessica Duron Martinez, fire inspector.

This is also the first year the Rio Rancho police and fire department are teaming up to crack down on those selling and using illegal fireworks by issuing citations.

Rio Rancho Lt. Ken Willey says extra officers will be out riding along with the fire department Tuesday night patrolling the city.

“Our officers will be riding with Rio Rancho Fire Department. They will be our witness in the field, our experts in the field. Our officers will write citations for illegal fireworks. When it comes time to go to municipal court, fire inspectors will be our expert witnesses in court,” said Lt. Ken Willey.

Instead of setting off your own fireworks, officials asks that you attend the city fireworks show, which starts at 9 p.m. But, if you plan to use your own fireworks, make sure it has the Safe and Sane label.

The Rio Rancho Fire Department asks that if you have concerns with people using illegal fireworks to call the non-emergency number 891-7226.

To see the Chapter 92 Fireworks, click here »