Glenwood Springs will have no community fireworks display this July 4 holiday, after two straight years of cancellations because of high fire danger and a decision last fall to reschedule the event as part of the wintertime Ski Spree celebration.
Although the fire danger is not nearly the concern this summer as it has been in recent years, Glenwood Springs City Council decided early on not to hold the traditional Independence Day fireworks display this summer.
Council will likely consider paying for the February Ski Spree fireworks again when it discusses the 2015 city budget this fall.
The fireworks were canceled last July 4, but with the vendor contract already in place, the city had the option of having the event instead on New Year’s Eve or during Ski Spree weekend.
In 2011 and 2012, there was also a question whether the city could continue to pay for the fireworks out of its tourism and special events funds, which had been depleted following the recession.
Donation drives helped raise the money for both of those years, only to see the fireworks canceled in 2012, the first of two straight drought years. The city was able to include fireworks in its 2013 budget, but again the event was canceled due to the dry conditions.
Another concern this year is that the July 4 holiday comes two days before the 20th anniversary of the Storm King Mountain fire in which 14 federal wildland firefighters perished. A commemorative event inviting family members and firefighters from across the country is planned for July 6 in Glenwood Springs.
“There was a concern in my mind about mixed messages, given the fire dangers we have faced the last couple of years,” Glenwood Springs Fire Chief Gary Tillotson said.
Although the fire danger so far this summer has been moderate, several straight days without significant rain and the return of hot and windy afternoon conditions typical of late June and early July could change that, he said.
Although Glenwood Springs will not have a fireworks display this Independence Day, Rifle is planning a concert and fireworks display in Centennial Park the evening of July 3.
Also, Apple Tree Park, located across the Colorado River from New Castle, will have its annual Independence Day celebration including fireworks the evening of July 4.