Garfield County enacts firework prohibition
March 22, 2022
Garfield County is prohibiting the sale, use, and possession of fireworks in 2022 as a protective measure against ongoing wildfire danger locally and throughout the state of Colorado. The ordinance notes that Garfield County is “periodically subject to hot, dry, and windy conditions, and contains heavily forested, grass, and other vegetation areas, which, in combination with the presence of fireworks, create a high fire danger.”
The ordinance (2022-1) prohibits sale, use, or possession of all permissible fireworks in unincorporated Garfield County; municipalities may or may not enforce firework prohibitions within their respective boundaries. Anyone in violation of the ordinance, classified as a civil infraction, is subject to a fine of “not more than $1,000 for each separate violation.”
“Our snowpack is around 103 percent right now, but history has shown us that we can have a bad spring with little moisture and have problems again,” said Garfield County Emergency Manager Chris Bornholdt in a public hearing with the Board of County Commissioners. “I feel this is something we should do annually, so we have the ability to act if we do experience dry conditions.”
The ordinance is in effect 30 days from publication and remains in effect for one year, excluding the dates of May 31 and July 5, which are exempt because of a state law that requires counties to show “competent evidence of high fire danger” to prohibit firework use during this time. That law gives counties the option to allow residents to ignite legal fireworks around Independence Day if the conditions allow for safe use. The Board of County Commissioners may approve a separate resolution extending the prohibition during those dates if high fire danger has been determined.
Community fireworks displays are not limited by this ordinance if supervised in accordance with statutory requirements. More information on fire restrictions can be viewed online at garfield-county.com/emergency-management/fire-restrictions/.
The ordinance was approved unanimously, 3-0.