Glenwood’s Fourth of July fireworks could be canceled |

Glenwood’s Fourth of July fireworks could be canceled

John StroudPost IndependentAspen CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS – The city of Glenwood Springs may join Aspen in canceling its Fourth of July fireworks display next month due to the extreme high fire danger.”As a result of discussions between myself and the fire chief, and an inquiry from the mayor about whether we should have them or not, it is on the agenda for our meeting next Thursday,” Glenwood Springs City Manager Jeff Hecksel said.Glenwood Springs City Council will formally discuss a possible cancellation of the fireworks display at its June 21 regular meeting.Meanwhile, Gov. John Hickenlooper on Thursday signed an executive order banning the use of private fireworks and open burning statewide because of the dry conditions throughout Colorado.The ban on fireworks means that, even though certain types of fireworks can be purchased legally in Colorado, they may not be used until the ban is lifted.The governor’s ban also does not prohibit commercial, professional and municipal fireworks displays when written approval has been granted by county sheriffs.”We can’t completely eliminate the threat of wildfire because there’s no way to control Mother Nature,” Hickenlooper said in a written statement. “But we can take steps to reduce the risks of more wildfires starting.” Glenwood Springs’ reconsideration of its July Fourth fireworks display comes on the heals of the city of Aspen’s decision earlier this week to cancel its fireworks displays at both this weekend’s Food & Wine Classic and during the city’s Fourth of July celebration.”I can’t remember it being this windy on so many days since I’ve been here,” Hecksel said of the frequent red flag fire warnings in recent weeks.”We certainly do not want a repeat of 2002,” he said in reference to the Coal Seam Fire that burned in and around Glenwood Springs 10 years ago.That fire was caused by an underground coal fire in South Canyon, when winds blew an ember into nearby vegetation. A cold front fanned the fire into a raging inferno that burned 12,000 acres and 29 homes.Hecksel said the city is not under contract with its vendor to put on this year’s fireworks display, which was budgeted for $20,000. So there’s no financial penalty, he said.”But they do need to know as soon as possible, and so do we, whether we intend to have them this year,” Hecksel said.With the fire danger as high as it’s been in a decade, area fire officials are concerned about any potential source of ignition that could set off a wildfire, including the private use of fireworks.The governor’s new statewide ban does not apply to campfires that are kept within constructed, permanent fire pits or fire grates in developed camp and picnic grounds or recreation sites. It also does not apply to liquid-fueled or gas-fueled stoves, fireplaces contained within buildings, or charcoal grills at private residences.However, local jurisdictions may prohibit use of those types of devices or enact other types of restrictions if they see fit.Still, Garfield County Sheriff Lou Vallario said he cannot prohibit the sale of fireworks by private vendors, such as the temporary stands that set up shop along area highways.Under the statewide ban, if someone buys fireworks, they simply can’t use them until the ban is lifted.”But we can’t interfere with someone’s commerce,” Vallario said. “That’s not something I want to get into.”

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