OPEN FIRE RESTRICTIONS & FIREWORKS INFORMATION
The information provided is intended to help guide the public and public agencies in understanding fire restrictions and fireworks regulation within Lincoln County. The information provided is accurate at the time of release, however changes may occur due to future administrative and legislative activity, or in response to special emergency conditions. Not all regulatory information is presented in this document, so more specific inquiries should be directed to the county or appropriate authority. It remains the responsibility of the individual or organization to fully understand and comply with all ordinances and regulations pertaining to the use of fire and fireworks during fire danger conditions.
Questions regarding open fire restrictions, permits, and fireworks sale and use within the county should be directed to the Lincoln County Office of Emergency Services at (505) 258-9991.
Temporary Fire Restrictions
Lincoln County Ordinance No. 2004-01, Section 5, Paragraph A provides the County Manager and the Emergency Services Coordinator the authority to issue temporary open fire and burning restrictions within the unincorporated areas of the county, excluding Federal lands and areas within municipal boundaries.
Temporary restrictions may be issued at any time of the year, are in place for a specific time period, and are instituted as a result of forecasted extreme fire weather conditions. Extreme fire weather may be generally defined as any combination of higher temperatures, lower humidity, and high winds that present a greater opportunity for radical fire behavior resulting in the potential for fires to escape containment and threaten public safety or cause damage.
Extreme Fire Danger Emergency
Lincoln County Ordinance No. 2004-01 also provides for the Board of County Commissioners to declare a condition of Extreme Fire Danger Emergency within the county, enacting open fire and burning restrictions for extended periods of time. This action is usually adopted at the beginning of the traditional wildland fire season when the combination of higher temperatures, dry fuel conditions, and periodic high winds constitutes an ongoing threat to public safety from wildfire. The decision to implement restrictions is based upon an assessment of existing fire danger conditions, in consultation with the US Forest Services and New Mexico State Forestry.
Open fire and burning restrictions enacted during the declaration of an Extreme Fire Danger Emergency are similar to the temporary restrictions, although there is an allowance for the issuance of conditional open fire permits under special circumstances. Again, these restrictions apply only to unincorporated areas of the county, and are enforced on Federal lands or within municipal boundaries.
The issuance of both the temporary and extreme fire danger emergency restrictions prohibit the setting of any open fire for the purpose of burning refuse, brush, grass, wood, or any other vegetation or combustible material. Moreover, campfires are prohibited (except in designated recreational areas). There is no stated restriction on fires for food preparation, heating, or ceremonial purposes, although the use of non-open flame and approved cooking devices is strongly recommended.
Conditional Fire Use permits
During a declaration of Extreme Fire Danger Emergency, individuals and organizations may apply to the county for conditional fire use permits. The issuance of a fire permit during extended fire restrictions will be evaluated by the County Emergency Services Coordinator, or County Manager as to need and potential risk, and approved if no overriding hazard is anticipated. These permits may be cancelled at any time if fire hazards conditions worsen. Permit applications may be obtained at the County Courthouse, in Carrizozo, or at the County Emergency Services Office, In Ruidoso. Conditional fire use permits are only issued during periods of Extreme Fire Danger Emergency, and not during the enactment of temporary open fire and burning restrictions.
Fireworks Sale/Display Permits
The County requires that groups and organizations wishing to sell approved fireworks obtain and complete an application. There is a fee for filing this application. Due to the nature of this activity, the sale of fireworks must be approved by both the County Manager and County Sheriff.
For organizations and groups wanting to conduct organized fireworks displays or exhibits, the county requires the completion of a separate application. After the application has been filed with either the County Manager or Emergency Services Coordinator, the request will be reviewed and approved only if certain fire safety provisions are met. Because no two fireworks venue sites are the same, the County reserves the right to stipulate the conditions and requirements under which the permit for display or exhibit of fireworks will be approved. County applications for the sale of fireworks or the display/exhibit of fireworks are also available at either the County Courthouse or Emergency Services Office.
Lincoln County Ordinance No. 2003-06 identifies what types of fireworks are prohibited from sale or use within the unincorporated areas of the county. Specifically, “missile-type rockets”, “helicopters”, aerial spinners”, stick-type rockets”, and “ground audible” devices are banned for sale or use within the unincorporated areas of the county. The ordinance also calls for the use of other non-prohibited fireworks to be limited to areas that are paved or barren, and that a sustainable source of water should be readily available for use by a property owner or members of the public in the event of an accidental fire. Fireworks are always prohibited on Federal lands, and the use of fireworks within municipalities should be confirmed with local authorities.