Fireworks on for Apple Tree |

Fireworks on for Apple Tree

Post Independent/Kelley Cox

Despite dry conditions, the annual firework display at Apple Tree Park will go on as planned. Both Rifle and Battlement Mesa canceled their fireworks this year because of dry conditions and extreme fire danger.Talbott Enterprises, the company – actually the father-son trio of Ross, Ross Jr. and Russell Talbott – that owns the trailer park along the Colorado River south of New Castle, has treated their residents to fireworks and other festivities for the past 27 years.Monday, Burning Mountains Fire Protection District Chief Brit McLin and Russell and Ross Talbott Jr. walked the hillside just south of Apple Tree Park where the fireworks will be set off to check out the conditions. What they found were dry fuels, mostly shrubs and trees and some grass that are as dry as they’ve been for years.

But the Talbotts’ efforts to control the fuels on the hillside and plans for a contingent of firefighters to be on hand this evening have prompted McLin to allow the fireworks display to proceed.Last year, McLin said he told the Talbotts to graze cattle on the hillside so they could keep the grass down and reduce that fire hazard.He will also station a handful of firefighters on the hill to make sure if anything starts, it can be extinguished quickly. A water line and pump will be in place, as well as a 2,100-gallon water truck, brush truck and spotters who will keep an eye uphill of the fireworks in case of stray sparks.He also noted that the Talbotts are licensed to shoot off fireworks. “They’re not a bunch of hillbillies setting off black powder,” he said.

With all the precautions, McLin thinks the fireworks won’t pose too great a threat of starting a wildfire.”We realize there’s risk … but I believe it’s acceptable risk,” he said. “We typically get one or two little ground fires but we handle them quickly.”The fireworks will be set off approximately three miles from where the Jolley Mesa Fire burned 581 acres. The fire started June 21 and was contained on June 26. No structures were burned, and no injuries resulted from the fire.

Apple Tree Park’s day-long Fourth of July festivities begin at noon and include food, music, kids’ games and much more. The fireworks are set to begin at 9:30 p.m.Glenwood Springs will shoot off its big bangers at 9:30 p.m. after a special concert by the Symphony in the Valley a 8 p.m., in Two Rivers Park.Carbondale’s Independence Day celebrations begin at 4 p.m. with the traditional parade down Main Street followed by music in Sopris Park at 7 p.m. and fireworks at approximately 9 p.m. fired from the top of White Hill.

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