EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — Law enforcement was out in full force this Fourth of July weekend making sure orders were followed in one popular spot for fireworks in Far East El Paso.
The Texas Rescue Patrol who monitors Red Sands said most El Pasoans complied by not popping fireworks in the area.
There was a lot activity happening at firework stands around town days leading into the holiday, as El Pasoans prepared to celebrate despite the ban from the County due to COVID-19. Red Sands however, was a little less “popping” this year.
“We had more people the following day on Sunday than we did on actual Fourth of July. So I was actually shocked by the numbers,” Jamil Moutran, Chief of Texas Rescue Patrol told KTSM.
Red Sands saw less activity on Independence Day than normal. The Texas Rescue Patrol, an emergency rescue service, who monitors the site says multiple agencies played a role in making sure rules were being followed. This includes the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office, EMS, and Montana Vista Fire Rescue to name a few.
“There was a large command presence here and I think that had a lot to do with deterring a lot of the individuals that were supposedly going to come out here because I had heard rumors there was going to be a lot people here and they didn’t show up,” Moutran shared.
According to Moutran, there are normally 10,000 to 15,000 people who visit the site during the holiday weekend in previous years. However most of the leftover trash that’s left comes from those visiting to party, not those who go off-road.
“They’ll show up just driving regular two wheel drive vehicles, they’ll park along the highway in the street and everything. The sole purpose for them coming out here is to just congregate with other individuals, group up and drink. That’s the problem,” Moutran said.
Within El Paso city limits, the El Paso Fire Department responded to 3,069 9-1-1 calls on the Fourth of July. Not all of them were related to fireworks, however EPFD did respond to 14 fires. One third of the calls happened around 9 p.m.
Despite less activity happening in the County, the message to prevent the spread of COVID-19 continues.
“If you’re looking for a place to replace the bars, nightclubs and all that and you want to throw a big party out there and invite a lot of people to come down, well it looks to me that the County doesn’t want that to happen,” Moutran explained, “I think that’s why you’re seeing these orders being implemented by our local authorities because they’re trying to prevent that.”
On Monday morning, Sheriff’s Office Detention Officers, Deputies, and Jail Inmates cleaned up 85 bags of trash left over from the holiday weekend around the Montana Vista area, including the outer part of Red Sands.