Airborne fireworks remain illegal in Summit County, officials warn
Permits are required for outdoor fires and only grounded and slow-burning fireworks are allowed, firefighters and law officers say
Summit County is at moderate fire danger entering the July Fourth weekend but has no fire restrictions in place. Despite that, most private fireworks are illegal under state law and setting them off is a petty offense, Summit County Sheriff Jaime FitzSimons said.
All fireworks are illegal on federal land, always, David Boyd of the Dillon Ranger District said. That means no fireworks are allowed in the White River National Forest. Campfires, however, are allowed on federal land, he said, since the White River National Forest currently has no fire restrictions.
“That doesn’t mean there’s no fire danger, it just means it’s not to the degree that warrants fire restrictions,” he said.“So people still need to be aware.”
This weekend will be the first time in a while Summit County has not had fire restrictions in place during the July Fourth weekend, Summit County Sheriff Jaime FitzSimons said. He said officers have relied on fire restrictions for ticketing people who illegally shoot off fireworks, but officers will now use state law.
Basically, “Any fireworks that leave the ground are against state law,” Summit County Sheriff Jaime FitzSimons said. “Now that we don’t have fire restrictions, we’re back to state law.”
Listing a few — but not all — prohibited fireworks, FitzSimons said bottle rockets, firecrackers, Roman candles, cherry bombs, shells and rockets are illegal. Summit County does allow for grounded and handheld fireworks including sparklers, fountains and party poppers. If it’s slow burning, non-exploding and stays on the ground, it’s allowed, Red, White & Blue Fire Protection District stated.
If someone is unsure whether a type of firework is allowed, they shouldn’t set it off, Red, White & Blue Deputy Chief Jay Nelson said.
“Sorry, but that’s probably a Fourth of July tradition that will have to be retired here in Summit County, where the risk of wildfire is just too high — and where even the towns have determined the traffic bottlenecks are too high of a cost for the commercial fireworks shows that we otherwise would condone,” Steve Lipsher of Summit Fire & EMS said, talking about large firework displays. “Plus, every dog in the county will be appreciative.”
Outdoor fires on private property require a permit from either Summit Fire & EMS or Red, White & Blue Fire Protection District. The Summit County Sheriff’s Office said people should plan ahead and visit either RWBFire.org/198/Permits or SummitFire.org/170/Permits-Services. Along with a permit, people need an ember screen and a method of extinguishing the fire on site to have an outdoor fire, Lipsher said.
Speaking for Red, White & Blue, Nelson said people can call Saturday to attempt to expedite the permitting process. Permits are usually issued Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., he said, but calling the local fire district and talking with fire crews to get a permit may be possible Saturday.
Lipsher said grill masters should keep children and pets away from grills. It’s hard to tell when a grill has cooled off, and kids should know never to touch a grill after it’s been used, he said.
Breckenridge has had an indefinite ban on fireworks in place since 2019, however town code permits grounded fireworks from July 3 to July 5, Red, White & Blue Deputy Chief Jay Nelson said. Small, grounded fireworks include sparklers, fountains or cones, snakes, and party poppers.
Any and all fireworks are illegal in the town of Blue River, Nelson said.
Silverthorne prohibits any and all launchable fireworks, but allows sparklers, fountains or cones, snakes, and party poppers, Silverthorne Police Department Spokesperson Kim Jardim and Red, White & Blue said.
Like the rest of Summit County and Colorado, Dillon prohibits any and all launchable fireworks but allows sparklers, fountains or cones, snakes, and party poppers, according to Red, White & Blue.
Fireworks are also prohibited in the Dillon Reservoir Recreation Area, unless otherwise permitted by the Dillon Reservoir Recreation Committee, according to town code, and people cannot build or light any fire of any nature within the jurisdictional authority of Dillon, except where town-provided fireplace grills or fire rings exist or by express permit from the town.
Like the rest of Summit County, Frisco prohibits any and all launchable fireworks, but allows sparklers, fountains or cones, snakes, and party poppers, according to Red, White & Blue.
The town of Frisco will not have a fireworks display because the Dillon Reservoir Recreation Committee denied the town’s special event permit. Traffic concerns topped the list of reasons for denying the permit, Frisco Town Spokesperson Vanessa Agee said in May after the the decision was announced, but fire risk also played a part.
Driving under the influence will not be tolerated in Summit County, officials warn
“Every year over the holiday weekend, we respond to crashes that, quite frankly, should have been avoided,” Lipsher said.
Jardim said people should take advantage of Summit Stage buses, which can be used when intoxicated. But if that isn’t an option, people should always assign a designated driver, call a friend or walk, she said. Silverthorne will not tolerate driving under the influence, she said.
Also, she said drivers and travelers are asked to exercise patience as roads and trails will be congested.
“People should anticipate traffic, slow down, and move over for emergency vehicles,” Dillon Police Chief Cale Osborn said. Additionally, “Plan ahead, use public transportation, walk and/or ride a bike.”
Osborn also encouraged Dillon residents to make use of public transportation, and, if cycling, make sure bikes have lights and are clearly visible.
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