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No fireworks this New Year’s Eve

Fireworks adorn the night sky on New Year’s Eve at Copper Mountain on Dec. 31, 2019. This year’s fireworks have been canceled.
Photo by Liz Copan / Summit Daily archives

New Year’s Eve fireworks won’t be set off this year in Summit County.

Officials with the town of Breckenridge, which has hosted an end-of-year fireworks celebration in the past, determined funds that would go toward fireworks should instead be used for business and residential rent relief efforts, according to town spokesperson Haley Littleton.

But even post-pandemic, residents and guests won’t be seeing much in the way of fireworks in Breckenridge. The town has canceled its fireworks celebrations on Fourth of July “indefinitely” and on New Year’s Eve for the past three years. Barring a shift in Breckenridge Town Council sentiment, it’ll stay that way.



The Fourth of July fireworks celebration in Breckenridge, which has seen spectacular lights and colors sparkle along the Tenmile Range amid booms and cheers in years past, has been canceled for the past three years.

In 2018, the fireworks were canceled just weeks after the Buffalo Mountain fire erupted in Silverthorne and brought a swift ban on fireworks and campfires in the county.



Last year, the towns of Breckenridge and Dillon canceled fireworks on the Fourth of July, citing wildfire concerns and a desire to set a good example for residents and visitors out on national forestland where fireworks are banned.

The Breckenridge Town Council last year decided that fireworks during the summer will be “indefinitely suspended,” meaning Independence Day will be a somewhat quieter festive affair in Breckenridge from here on out.

But Breckenridge’s decision to cancel New Year’s Eve fireworks celebrations in 2018 and 2019 came with more nuanced reasoning.

First, the town wanted to maintain consistency between the seasons so as not to confuse residents and guests.

“They felt that if we did not have them in the summer, we should not have them in the winter,” Littleton said at the time.

She added that the Town Council also was concerned about the potential harm to local veterans who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, which can be triggered by the blasts as they reverberate across the Blue River Valley. Concerns about the noise and disturbance winter fireworks could cause to pets and local wildlife also were discussed.

Finally, Littleton said the council was concerned about the environmental impact caused by fireworks, specifically pollution to local air, water and soil. She cited a study that found a 42% increase nationally in dangerous air-particle pollution during the night and day following the Fourth of July as well as an article that explained how the toxic metal compounds in fireworks get oxidized upon combustion, spreading harmful particles into the air, water and soil in the vicinity of fireworks celebrations.

Littleton said the Breckenridge council sees more harm than good from having a fireworks celebration and encourages “new methods of activation and celebration” as an alternative to the sights and sounds of traditional fireworks.

Taylor Sienkiewicz contributed to this report.


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