ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – As we all gear up to watch the Fourth of July displays put on across the state, fire departments are bracing for what is one of their busiest days of the year. Fire stations are reading themselves for this busy night—whether that means more boots on the ground, or simply being extra vigilant in especially vulnerable areas like the bosque in Albuquerque.
“We do have our bosque patrols. Our bosque trucks, our wildland trucks will be manned, they’ll be staffed. So there will be some folks on those trucks just as a precaution,” says Lt. Tom Ruiz, public information officer for Albuquerque Fire and Rescue (AFR). Ruiz says at AFR they don’t have additional firefighters on for the holiday, so it’s up to the crews already on duty to not only handle their regular calls but fireworks calls as well. That means they will be extra busy. The department asks people not to call 9-1-1 for fireworks concerns; instead call 3-1-1 or use the 3-1-1 app so they don’t tie up resources for other emergencies.
The Santa Fe Fire Department did bring on extra staff, an extra rescue unit, two additional engines, and their wildland division to deal with Monday night’s elevated risk. “So all the districts will be covered. We’ll be roaming this evening. So I bring them all out of the fire stations. They’re interacting with the public. They’re driving around in their districts making sure everybody’s safe. So we run that from about eight o clock to midnight,” says Brian Moya, fire chief of Santa Fe Fire Department.
Both departments say when responding to calls of illegal fireworks, their goal is to educate the public and keep people safe; but if a problem persists, they will issue citations. AFR responded to 25 fires last Fourth of July and issued 29 cease and desist orders.
Both departments also noted that despite the recent rainfall, there is still a high fire danger and people should be extra cautious even when using legal fireworks. Firefighters say your safest best is letting the professionals handle the show. For more information on the Fourth of July displays in the state, check out KRQE’s Always On.