Summit County officials: Leave fireworks to the pros |

Summit County officials: Leave fireworks to the pros

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Summit Daily/Mark Fox

SUMMIT COUNTY – The U.S. Forest Service lists the weekend fire danger here as “moderate,” but local authorities are advising people of “high” fire danger.

“It’s fair to say that this rain has definitely helped lessen the fire danger, but we kind of cautiously have said we’re going to call it ‘high’ danger,” said Steve Lipsher, spokesman for Lake Dillon Fire-Rescue. “We don’t want to be alarmist, but with this county full of people and the forests the way they are with beetle kill,” local authorities aim to raise awareness.

There are no local fire bans imposed, but controlled burns have been prohibited over the weekend. Fireworks of any kind are prohibited in the national forest.

Law enforcers are reminding people that any fireworks that leave the ground or explode are illegal under state law, and violations can carry penalties of up to $750 or six months in jail.

Other types of fireworks are allowed in the county, but Lipsher said even the non-flying or exploding ones are discouraged.

“A sparkler can burn at 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit,” he said. “That can leave disfiguring scars or catch a house on fire.”

Recent warm weather and winds have dried out grass and shrubs, leaving them susceptible to rapidly developing fires, Jay Nelson, fire marshal and deputy chief with Red, White and Blue Fire Department in Breckenridge said in a press release.

“We have thousands of acres of dead-standing lodgepoles out there on our public lands, and all it might take is a careless match or a firework that got away or a smoldering, left-for-dead campfire to lead to a catastrophe,” he said. “These things can happen in an eyeblink, even from a seemingly innocuous source, and the danger is very real.”

Four fireworks displays are planned for this weekend, with Copper on Saturday and Breckenridge, Frisco and Keystone on Sunday.

Fifth-generation local Robin Theobald has been setting off large fireworks displays for 25 or more years. He’ll be running the Breckenridge show from a parking lot near the BreckConnect Gondola in town.

He said “just about anywhere in town is pretty darn good” for watching the explosions, especially along Ridge or Main streets. This year’s display is to have some new effects and colors.

Lipsher said the Frisco display over Lake Dillon – which is executed by experts with Lake Dillon Fire Rescue – is to include more than 1,400 shells.

“The finale will throw up over 250 shells in just 30 seconds,” he said.

SDN reporter Robert Allen can be contacted at (970) 668-4628 or

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