ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Extreme fire danger has led Bernalillo County to issue an open burn and fireworks ban. Bernalillo County Commission voted Tuesday night to ban open burning and fireworks in the county and outside the city limits of Albuquerque.

Open burning is any fire that is not in a contained space, like a campfire or a pile of brush. Commissioners also voted to ban fireworks outside city limits, which restricts the sale and use of aerial fireworks.

“The current drought situation is just plain dangerous. It’s not just about the mountains, vacant lots are extremely dry as are fallow fields and the bosque. It’s all a tinderbox,” Bernalillo County Fire Chief Greg Perez said in a release.

The County Commission cited key factors used to make the decision on the ban:

  • Bernalillo county currently has areas listed by the National Integrated Drought Information System in severe, extreme or exception 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
  • Warmer than normal temperatures and the extended drought are drying fuels at an accelerated rate

Commissioners also approved the closure of all East Mountain open spaces. The areas affected are Carolino Canyon, Gutierrez-Milne, San Antonio, Juan Tomas, Loma Ponderosa, Golden and Placitas Open Space.