As the fire danger increases, Breckenridge decides to cancel 4th of July fireworks show
Summit County’s fire danger was raised to “very high” for the second time in two weeks, with red flag warnings in effect for all parts of the county under 9600 feet starting Thursday, June 28. Due to these conditions, the town of Breckenridge voted to cancel its planned 4th of July fireworks show and ban all fireworks in the town, even those normally permissible, from July 3 to 5.
Summit Fire & EMS Chief Jeff Berino told the Summit Daily that the so-called Energy Release Component in Summit is near 66, putting it in the 94th percentile. Basically, Berino said, the ERC is a gauge of “how angry” a fire is going to be if it starts out in the wildland.
“This is not unprecedented, we’ve been at ‘very high’ during the Fourth before,” Berino said, pointing out how the Peak 2 Fire last year started on July 5, the same day the fire danger was raised to very high. “But we have to be very careful. Hopefully, the Stage I fire restrictions will help out, and that monsoon season will hit sooner than later.”
In a press release, Breckenridge Mayor Eric Mamula said while he and the town were disappointed in having to cancel the fireworks this year, he hopes people understand that safety always comes first.
“While canceling the famed Breckenridge 4th of July firework show is never ideal, we hope residents and guests understand why this decision had to be made and that it’s best for our community,” Mamula said. “Breckenridge always strives to be extremely cautious with firework displays, council feels that it is better to not take a chance, especially with most of the state of Colorado in abnormally dry to drought conditions.”
Captain Matt Benedict of the Red, White and Blue fire district said that he supported the town’s decision from a firefighting perspective.
“We know with this fuel moisture, the fires are going to be more stubborn, faster, more dangerous and more intense than normal this time of year,” Benedict said. “Starting to ban fireworks, these fire restrictions and mitigation policies, everything is consistent with proper preparation for these conditions.”
Residents are reminded that the county’s chipping program is underway, and to leave their dead and chopped up fuel by the side of the road for pick up. Benedict encouraged Breckenridge residents to contact RWB for a property fire mitigation inspection by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. The inspection will assess fire threats to the property and give mitigation recommendations to homeowners.
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