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Dry conditions limit fireworks, but not celebrations

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Due to extremely hot and dry weather conditions, there won’t be Fourth of July fireworks on the west end of Garfield County, but they will be shown in New Castle, Glenwood Springs and Carbondale.A county-wide open burn ban was implemented in mid-June which prohibits burning anything with an open flame. Some jurisdictions have also implemented their own local fire bans.But even though there won’t be fireworks in all the municipalities, there are still fun family activities scheduled up and down the valley for the holiday.CarbondaleLineup for the parade at the annual Independence Day Celebration begins at 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday, July 4, in front of the KDNK radio building at Second and Main Street. The parade begins at 4 p.m. and heads down Main Street, ending at Sopris Park.The Carbondale Council for Arts & Humanities is sponsoring two live bands in the park – Acoustic Mayhem starting at 4 p.m. and the headlining band, The Gourds, at 6 p.m.”There will also be a beer garden, food booths and children’s games and activities,” said Jeff Jackel, recreation director for the town.The fireworks begin around 9 p.m. and last about 45 minutes, according to deputy Fire Chief Carl Smith.”We’ve been watching the fire behavior and although we’ve had several small fires, we’re confident at this time that we’re still doing fireworks,” Smith said on Wednesday morning.Smith warned that due to the expansion of Crystal River Elementary, a popular place to view the fireworks display, there may not be as much room as there has in years passed. Suggested viewing areas along with Sopris Park include North Face Park by the baseball fields and skateboard park, Carbondale Middle School and Triangle Park at River Valley Ranch.While a county-wide open burning ban is in place, the town of Carbondale does not have a local ban on legal fireworks.

Glenwood SpringsIn hopes that people won’t set off their own fireworks at home, the city of Glenwood Springs will have a fireworks display around 9:30 p.m. at Two Rivers Park on the July Fourth holiday. The annual Symphony in the Valley July 4 concert begins at 8 p.m.”We feel it’s a safe venue and hopefully it will stop everyone else from having private showings,” said Chief Mike Piper of the Glenwood Springs Fire Department. “It’s in an area that we feel is safe for the town.”Yet the local fireworks ordinance still prohibits anything that goes “bang, boom or leaves the ground,” Piper said. “It has to be people themselves understanding the risk they’re taking. People need to be very careful.”New CastleThe annual Freedom Celebration in Apple Tree Park will be filled with family activities on Tuesday and, so far, the fireworks are still scheduled.Activities for the 27th annual celebration in Apple Tree Park begin at noon on Tuesday with a flag raising by Cub Scout Pack 221. After that, there will be a host of children’s games and activities, including firetruck rides, a ‘bump-and-jump’, slip-n-slide, Old Faithful water sprinkler, watermelon eating contest and a sand treasure hunt.Adults can participate in a horseshoe contest and a booth from the Garden School will sell food and soft drinks.Beginning at 5:30 p.m., skits will be performed by New Creation Church, along with a performance by the New Hope Praise band.Sleeting Moment, a bluegrass band out of Montrose, will play at 7 and 8:30 p.m. The Western Slope Stompers, a clogging group of students led by Rifle High School graduate Shonna Partain, will perform at 7:45 p.m. The fireworks are scheduled to start at 9:30 p.m. if the conditions are deemed safe.”We’re monitoring (conditions) daily, but we’ll see how it is on that day,” said Burning Mountains Fire Protection District Chief Brit McLin. “Right now it’s still scheduled.”

Private fireworks of all kinds are not allowed in the town of New Castle following a fire ban enacted earlier this week which prohibits trash and brush burning, campfires and barbecues that use wood or coal. Propane, gas or charcoal barbecues at private residences are still allowed.SiltThe town does not put on a fireworks display, but the Burning Mountains Fire Protection District, which covers both Silt and New Castle, will be on hand to monitor the fireworks at Apple Tree Park.”We’ll graze and pre-cut the hills (for the Apple Tree fireworks),” McLin said. “But the worst fires are from private individuals setting off fireworks.”Police Chief Paul Taylor said that legal fireworks – the kind that do not flame or leave the ground – are allowed, but all others are prohibited as required by state statute.”We did pass a burn ban more than a month ago, but nothing has been passed prohibiting fireworks,” Taylor said. “But we’ll be keeping a real close eye.”RifleAlthough there will not be a fireworks display in the city of Rifle this year, the annual children’s Fourth of July parade will still be held on Saturday, July 1.Any kid is welcome to decorate his or her bike and meet at Rifle City Hall, 202 Railroad Avenue, at 9:30 a.m. The parade will march from 2nd Street, down Railroad Avenue and end at Heinze Park.At the park, there will be a cheerleading performance and fun activities for the kids, including a water balloon toss and potato sack races.”And there will be watermelon for all,” said Aleks Briedis, recreation director for the city.



The decision not to have the fireworks this year was made by the Rifle Fire Department last week.There were several contributing factors to the decision, including the fire danger, location of the show, increasing call loads and the inability to raise the $10,000 to $11,000 it costs for the event.”The conditions are obviously very bad,” said Fire Chief Mike Morgan.The city has also implemented its own fire ban, in addition to the county ban, that prohibits all fireworks.”Normally, we prohibit anything that leaves the ground,” said Police Chief Daryl Meisner. “But because of the extreme fire conditions, this (ban) prohibits any and all fireworks.”Parachute/Battlement MesaExtreme fire conditions are also the reason the fireworks display in Battlement Mesa has been canceled this year. However, the annual parade and other activities are still scheduledA kid’s parade will be held beginning at 10 a.m. on Tuesday at the Battlement Mesa Activity Center, which will head down the hill to the Mesa Vista Assisted Living Center.”It’s fun because we get the young and the old together again,” said Fran Storm, events and group services coordinator for the activity center.The festivities will then continue back at the center from 1-4 p.m. with live bluegrass music from Sweet Sunny South, a giant waterslide for all ages and a picnic lunch.”We’re not having fireworks this year because of the fire ban,” Storm said. “Instead we’ll have them at the Oktoberfest this fall.”For more information about the fire bans in your area, contact your local fire department.


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