Fireworks caution for a safe and happy Independence Day weekend
Public safety agencies wish everyone a safe and enjoyable holiday
June 30, 2023
Garfield County, CO – Garfield County is experiencing extremely critical fire weather. Not only is a nearly 3,000-acre fire burning in the county but frequent Fire Weather Watches and daily Red Flag Warnings have accompanied the drying of area lands this spring.
The health and well-being of all community members is the highest priority this 4th of July long weekend. Public safety agencies across Garfield County, including all fire departments, law enforcement, emergency managers, and governments wish everyone a safe and enjoyable holiday. They also urge caution.
“Most of the wildfires burning across Colorado were sparked within the last week, amid what the National Weather Service called “extremely critical” fire weather,” said Garfield County Emergency Manager, Chris Bornholdt. Hot and dry conditions are expected to continue, and monsoon moisture may not affect areas with fire activity.
In Colorado, even on private lands, it is illegal to possess or ignite any form of fireworks that are propelled into the air. Whether the entire incendiary or only a portion of it is fired into the air, it is illegal unless you are a licensed professional with a valid permit.
Illegal fireworks (not limited to):
- cherry bombs,
- bottle rockets,
- and Roman candles
On federal lands, including BLM and Forest Service lands, the use of fireworks of any type, flares, or other incendiary devices, including exploding targets, are always prohibited.
If you are responsible for starting a wildfire, you may face restitution costs for suppressing that fire as well as a variety of other charges.
Where permissible under local law, legal fireworks in Colorado consist of small devices that produce audible or visual effects (but not explosion) through combustion.
If permitted under local law, legal fireworks in Colorado may include the following:
- snake or glow worms,
- ground spinners,
- illuminating torches,
- dipped sticks and sparklers,
- toy propellants,
- noise makers that crackle or whistle (but do not explode), and
- certain tube devices.
Town of Carbondale: Prohibits any person to possess, offer for sale, expose for sale, sell, or have in his or her possession with intent to offer for sale, sell, use, or explode any fireworks. Sparklers are allowed unless prohibited by a fire restriction in the area.
City of Glenwood Springs: It is unlawful for any person to offer for sale, expose for sale, sell, or have in his/her possession with intent to offer for sale, sell, use, or explode any fireworks. “Given the hot, dry weather, and abundance of fuels available, it is important to use extreme caution while recreating. If you are going to build a campfire, or use fireworks, please adhere to general safety practices,” said Glenwood Springs Fire Chief Gary Tillotson.
Town of New Castle: Prohibits all fireworks with the exception of smoke bombs and snap caps. Fountains, bottle rockets, sparklers, firecrackers, and other fireworks are not permitted in town limits. Exemptions may be possible; contact the police department for more information.
Town of Parachute Police Chief Sam Stewart reminds people that if you have to go out of state to buy fireworks, then you cannot light them in Parachute or the State of Colorado.
City of Rifle: Open burning is prohibited. Open burning of fires, including the sale, possession, or use of fireworks is prohibited from Memorial Day to Labor Day annually.
Town of Silt: Prohibits the use of all fireworks. The Town of Silt encourages its citizens to attend any regulated and safe events that neighboring communities may host.
Garfield County fire agencies are urging caution that fireworks are also dangerous and cause serious injury in addition to sparking wildfires.
- Dry conditions mean fires will start easily. The tiniest spark, ember, or ash could lead to a huge fire.
- An estimated 19,500 fires started by fireworks were reported to local fire departments in the US during 2018.
- Fireworks were involved with an estimated 10,200 injuries treated in U.S. hospital emergency departments during calendar year 2022.
- Sparklers were associated with 600 emergency department-treated injuries.
- Victims 15 to 19 years of age had the highest estimated rate of emergency department treated, fireworks-related injuries. Children, 10 to 14 years of age, had the second highest estimated rate.
- The parts of the body most often injured by fireworks were hands and fingers (an estimated 29 percent); head, face, and ears (an estimated 19 percent); legs (an estimated 19 percent); eyes (an estimated 16 percent); trunk/other regions (an estimated 12 percent); and arms (an estimated 5 percent).*
*Source: U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) 2022 Fireworks Annual
Register or update your account now for emergency alerts at Garco 911. Residents may download the ReachWell App for these 911 alerts in other languages.
NOTE: This release is from a collaboration of multiple agencies with public information officers in the PIO Group of Garfield County. It follows a June 26 press release from the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office, which also provides safety recommendations.
The Garfield County Public Information Officers Group is composed of official public safety communicators from government entities, agencies and organizations in Garfield County. These include municipal, county, state and federal agencies, fire districts, law enforcement, health care, utility companies, human services, and schools, including higher education. Information shared by the Garfield County PIO Group is a collaborative effort of these agencies.