ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE0 - The pop of fireworks will be heard Thursday night, and you can bet fire officials everywhere will be listening and watching closely.
Albuquerque fire officials started their illegal fireworks patrols on Wednesday night an--you guessed it--not everyone is following the rules.
There's no arguing fireworks are a Fourth of July fundamental. But with the extreme fire danger, many of them are outlawed. Firework stands in Albuquerque are only allowed to sell certain fireworks.
"The ones that have the label that say ‘warning,' those are the ones that are illegal and strictly banned within the city limits," Fire Marshal Victor Padilla said.
In addition to the labels, the Albuquerque Fire Marshal's Office says if the firework travels more than 6 feet on the ground or higher than 10 feet off the ground, it's a no-go.
"With our dry drought conditions, all it takes is one of those sparks to land on any form of dry grass, or building material and we could have a wild land fire, a brush fire or even a structure fire," Padilla said.
But it's not just sellers they're looking for.
They're also looking for people lighting off illegal fireworks at their homes.
"We got a complaint from up in this area of people discharging fireworks," Lt. Albert Herren of the Fire Marshal's Office said while on patrol.
Herren and his partner nabbed a group of guys caught red-handed with banned fireworks.
"It's a criminal citation. You'll have to make a court appearance for it," Herren explained to the man with the fireworks.
With citations carrying up to a $500 fine and 90 days in jail, these fire marshals hope to send a message.
"This is an illegal act you guys have done," Herren said.
Planned out months in advance, these fire marshals say they're not out to rain on anyone's good time.
"These restrictions and these bans are in place for their own safety and for the safety of our community," Herren said.
And they seem to be working.
"There is definitely a big, big drop in the number of illegal fireworks being discharged within the city limits," he added.
There are a few other things to keep in mind.
It's illegal to light off any fireworks within 200 feet of an open space. Also, you can't have any sparklers in city parks.
These patrols are taking place all day through Saturday.
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