The City of Grand Junction canceled its July 4 fireworks display after this article went to print. The sale of fireworks anywhere in GJ was also banned. The City may consider holding a fireworks show later this year after the fire danger subsides.
For many, fireworks are synonymous with Independence Day celebrations. You can't have one without the other. But, due to Colorado's statewide fire crisis, many explosive displays have been canceled and private firework use is illegal.
Grand Valley residents are lucky, however. The City of Grand Junction fireworks show is still planned for July 4 at Lincoln Park.
As of June 28, both the City and the Mesa County Sheriff's Office said GJ's in-town display remains scheduled despite the raging Pine Ridge fire near DeBeque. The show goes on because its location (over a watered area and asphalt) isn't deemed a fire risk.
City of GJ spokeswoman Sam Rainguet said, unless City Council members indicate they'd like to cancel the show, the display will continue as planned.
GJ's July 4 fireworks show will start at 9:45 p.m., or at the conclusion of the GJ Rockies game at Suplizio Field, City of GJ recreation supervisor Emily Wright said. The traditional display will be choreographed to music and it will last up to a half hour. The baseball game will begin early, at 6:30 p.m., to accommodate the spectacle. Everyone in the stadium should stay to watch the display.
"We hope the community will come out to watch the fireworks show and do it in a safe manner," Wright added. "Please do not put on private fireworks shows."
What's Independence Day without a parade, too? The annual downtown Main Street parade is set to start at 5 p.m.
While GJ's holiday display remains on track, many other firework shows (both locally and statewide) were canceled over fire concerns.
July 4 applications from the Town of Collbran and the Town of Gateway were denied by the Mesa County Sheriff's Office. A special event firework application submitted by the Bookcliff Country Club was, however, approved.
Fruita recently replaced its July 3 fireworks display with a free concert. The family-focused event will be held at the Civic Center Pavilion in downtown Fruita, and starts at 7:30 p.m. Fruita will hold its annual ice cream social, also at the Civic Center, on July 5 at 7:30 p.m. The Centennial Band will play during this tasty event.
Palisade's Fourth of July family celebration will not feature fireworks either. A parade, games and food is scheduled in Palisade Memorial Park, with times to be announced.
Right now, it's illegal to privately use any type of firework, even cones, fountains and sparklers . So, please, no backyard displays.
Those caught illegally lighting fireworks in Mesa County may face a class-3 misdemeanor charge and up to $750 in fines, law enforcement officials said.
"Here at the Sheriff's Office, we plan to respond to firework complaints as they occur," Mesa County Sheriff's Office PIO Heather Benjamin said. "It will be very helpful for the public to report specific addresses - not just near my house at 123 Main St., for example, (and) any debris or other fire hazards they see. People should know that, while it is legal to purchase fireworks in the state, it is not legal to light any of them, based on the Governor's executive order. On top of the ticket and fine, people can be held financially responsible for any damage they incur as a result of a fire."
Grand Junction Police Chief John Camper said city officers will respond in a similar fashion.
"Due to the additional threats presented by fireworks this year, we will staff extra officers specifically assigned to handle firework-related complaints," Camper said.