Officials remind residents of firework ban ahead of Fourth of July
KEYSTONE — With this year’s Fourth of July fireworks show canceled in order to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus, people may be tempted to light their own, a decision that is illegal in both Summit County and many places throughout Colorado.
In Summit County, fire restrictions prohibit the use and sale of fireworks, according to the county’s wildfire prevention page. The only type of firework that is allowed are sparklers.
“In general, anything that flies or explodes is illegal,” Summit Fire & EMS spokesman Steve Lipsher said. “That’s in all of our municipalities and in the county. It applies to private property.”
In late May, the Dillon Ranger District of White River National Forest enacted Stage 1 fire restrictions for the county. The restrictions also prohibit building, maintaining, attending and using open fires.
The county does allow fires for people who have obtained a permit from their fire district, however. Residents and property owners can obtain permits by using their district’s Community Connect page.
The Red, White & Blue Fire Protection Service area covers all of the greater Breckenridge. Summit Fire & EMS covers Copper, Silverthorne, Dillon, Montezuma, Frisco, Keystone, Summit Cove, Wildernest, Mesa Cortina and the Lower Blue Valley.
In addition to obtaining a permit, the county has outlined other regulations that residents must follow when burning a legal fire:
- The device that holds the fire must have a protective screen
- The ground underneath the fire must be barren
- The fire has to be at least 15 feet away from anything that is flammable
- The fire can be no larger than 3 feet wide and 2 feet tall
- Only nontoxic fuel sources like wood or charcoal are allowed
While sparkler’s are allowed in most public areas, Lipsher said people should be aware of how hot they can get.
“Even those burn at like 1,700 degrees Fahrenheit,” he said. “So they’re not risk-free, and we prefer that people not use any type of fireworks.”
Lipsher said the firework ban’s main purpose is to prevent wildfires.
“This is an arid western forest and fireworks can very easily start a wildfire and they have many, many times over the years,” he said.
Public officials are urging residents to be especially careful this year because a wildfire would take up necessary resources used to fight the novel coronavirus pandemic.
People who are caught violating the firework ban will have to pay a $150 fine for the first violation, $500 for the second violation and $1,000 for the third violation, according to the county’s firework ordinance. The penalty is even worse for people who cause a wildfire, Lipsher said.
“If you start a wildfire it escalates from there,” he said. “There’s arson potential, there’s prison time potential and, of course, all of the costs of fighting a wildfire. It’s bad news you do not want that.”
- Building, attending and using open fires
- Use of tracer ammunition
- Use of any projectile containing explosive material, incendiary material or other flammable chemical substance
- Disposal of any burning object outdoors, including cigarettes, cigars and matches
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