Fire danger for the Fourth |

Fire danger for the Fourth

ASPEN Area officials have urged Aspen’s Fourth of July revelers to leave the pyrotechnics to the pros.There are fire bans planned for federal lands. Sanctions in both Pitkin and Eagle counties prohibit smoking outdoors, open fires and explosives, and mandate spark-arresting devices on small engines.Area officials are encouraging caution.”If it goes bang or it moves and flies in the air, then it’s not allowed,” said Ron Ryan, investigative coordinator for the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office. It is legal to buy or sell small fireworks, such as firecrackers, but it is illegal to use them, Ryan said. And sheriff’s deputies who catch anyone lighting fireworks will confiscate the materials and impose fines in some cases – especially for those lighting fireworks in dry, dangerous areas during the fire ban, Ryan said.While both Colorado law and the Pitkin County burn ban prohibit various explosives, smaller devices, such as sparklers, are allowed, Ryan said.”Although the ban doesn’t expressly cover sparklers, we would hope that anyone using any type of firework or doing any fire-related activity would do it in the safest way possible,” Ryan said. “[Sparklers] are still allowed, but there is a high danger of fire.”Even without the fire ban, Ryan urges caution with sparklers, but even more so with current dry conditions.”We really try to discourage people from using fireworks or sparklers,” said Aspen Fire Marshal Ed Van Walraven, adding that sparklers burn at high temperatures and are dangerous.”Parents shouldn’t be letting kids use sparklers, for their own health,” Van Walraven said.And with dry conditions in recent years prompting regular fire bans and fireworks an issue every Fourth of July, Van Walraven said, “My feeling is we should ban everything that makes a spark.”What’s illegal under Colorado law• Toy cannons or toy canes using explosives• Blank cartridges• Balloons propelled by fire underneath • Firecrackers• Torpedoes, skyrockets and rockets• Roman candles• Day-Glo bombs and torches• Any other fireworks containing any explosive substanceWhat’s legal under Colorado law(Though officials stress caution or not using any incendiary devices at all during this dry season, the following items are legal under Colorado law)• Toy caps with less than twenty-hundreths of a grain of explosive compound per cap• Sparklers, trick matches, cigarette loads, trick noisemakers, toy smoke devices and novelty auto alarms• Highway flares, railway fuses, ship distress signals, smoke candles and other emergency signal devisesCharles Agar’s e-mail address is

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