In a response to the rising drought across New Mexico, the town of Taos Council voted during a Tuesday (May 22) meeting to declare fire restriction in town limits based on extreme dry conditions and hazardous fire risks.
The ordinance bans campfires, open fires around vegetation and smoking within town parks to heighten the fire prevention in the town. In addition, the ordinance bans open fires with embers or ash, which includes charcoal-burning grills.
The ordinance also bans litter such as cigarette or cigar butts that might still be lit and cause a fire.
“It is extremely dry,” said Taos Mayor Dan Barrone during the meeting. “We did get a little moisture yesterday, but I haven't seen it this dry in over 25 years.”
Resolution 18-37, passed with the recent water crisis and the lack of precipitation in mind, places the town under severe firework bans for the upcoming summer events. Several types of fireworks are banned by the resolution within the town.
According to the resolution, “The sale and use of missile-type rockets, helicopters, aerial spinners, stick-type rockets and ground audible devices are banned within the affected drought area, which includes all unincorporated portions of the Town of Taos.”
Councilor Nathaniel Evans told the public the town is doing everything "within our legal power" to prevent the sale and use of illegal fireworks within town limits.
Taos Fire Chief Leroy Gonzales during the meeting asked the public to not bring illegal fireworks into town.
A special use permit must be obtained for continued hot work, such as welding or torching, from the town.
The restrictions are set in place for 30 days, and if an extension is needed, the council will have to vote again. The council will revisit the restrictions at the June 12 meeting.