PERALTA — The skies above the town of Peralta this Fourth of July will again be filled with what looks like rocket’s red glare and sounds of bombs bursting in air.
Peralta councilors voted unanimously last week to not approve a proclamation that would have restricted the sale and use of certain fireworks in the town for 45 days.
The proposed proclamation was brought to the council because of the “… extreme or severe drought conditions within the boundaries of Peralta …”
If the council had approved the proclamation, the fireworks that would not be allowed to be bought or used included aerial audible, aerial shell kit-reloadable tubes, aerial spinners, helicopters, mines, missile-type rockets, multiple tube devices, Roman candles, shells, stick-type rockets, chasers and firecrackers.
“Some people are hollering and screaming (about fireworks), but most are not,” said Peralta Mayor Bryan Olguin. “We do need to be responsible and do the right thing, and hopefully the rain will come.”
The mayor said he has always enjoyed fireworks and sold them for years.
“Fireworks is part of our independence and our freedom,” the mayor said. “We need to be safe and secure and have respect for our neighbors.
“I will guarantee that a lot of fireworks thrown out there don’t come from Peralta. We all see the ones in Albuquerque and Moriarty. I don’t think it sounds like a battlefield — it sounds like a celebration.”
David Adame, founder of T-N-T Boxing, a local nonprofit organization that coaches and tutors youth, told the council he hoped they would deny the proclamation.
“… the only fundraising we do is selling fireworks. We operate one here (in Peralta) and one at Albertson’s (in Los Lunas),” Adame said.
The former Los Lunas firefighter told the Peralta governing body the current fires burning in the state were not caused by fireworks, but rather because of prescribed burns done by the U.S. Forest Service.
“When it comes down to it, we’ve been in a drought for years,” he said. “I want you to understand that it’s not the fireworks. It’s as simple as that. Do we have individuals who do dumb things? Yes, of course. But it’s getting ready to rain … and it’s going to continue raining until past July.”
Long time Peralta resident Laura McCann, who also founded a local nonprofit, New Mexico Raptors, which is a rescue for birds of prey, says while a lot of people may not be “throwing fits about fireworks,” she’s concerned with large fireworks going off above her property.
“I love fireworks; I would love for us to do a fireworks show in Peralta,” McCann told the council. “I would like to see some kind of common-sense restrictions and enforcement of those restrictions.”
McCann said the Fourth of July is a time of “chaos” that looks and feels like a “warzone.” She told the council that Independence Day is a time of year when many scared pets go missing because of the noise from fireworks.
“What most residents are looking for are restrictions, not abolishing fireworks,” she said.
Councilor Randy Smith said he understands the concerns of those who want to restrict fireworks.
“This is always a tough deal, it really is because we have the argument of the noise, the drought and the animals. We have veterans, and we have people who love to celebrate with fireworks,” Smith said.
The councilor said he’s not as concerned with the dry conditions caused by the drought because the aerials are made to burn out before hitting the ground.
Councilors Claudio Moya and Leon Otero agreed with Smith. Councilor Joseph Romero was not at last week’s meeting.
“We’ve never had fires during fireworks season,” Moya said. “Our own forest service is responsible for the current fires.”
“I don’t like the restrictions,” Otero said. “I don’t want to come back (and rescind the proclamation) if we get the rain.”
All three councilors — Smith, Moya and Otero — voted to deny the proclamation restricting the sale and use of fireworks in the town of Peralta.
According to Peralta’s current firework ordinance, the town allows the sale and use of a multitude of fireworks from ground and hand-held sparkling devices, such as snakes, fountains, illuminating torches and wheels. The town also allows aerial devises to be sold and used, such as aerial shell kit-reloadable tubes, mines or shells, multiple tube devices, Roman candles and multi-aerial cake.
The only fireworks that is prohibited in the town of Peralta are all stick-type rockets and helicopters, and fireworks with more than 130 milligrams of explosive composition.
Peralta is the only government entity in Valencia County that allows for the sale and use of aerials within its boundaries.
Peralta Fireworks Ordinance
Clara Garcia is the editor and publisher of the Valencia County News-Bulletin.
She is a native of the city of Belen, beginning her journalism career at the News-Bulletin in 1998 as the crime and courts reporter. During her time at the paper, Clara has won numerous awards for her writing, photography and typography and design both from the National Newspaper Association and the New Mexico Press Association.