Fireworks sales likely to be added to year-round ban in Garfield County, but not until next year

Seasonal fireworks stands like this one at the Cattle Creek intersection on Colorado Highway 82 may not be able to operate in Garfield County during high fire-danger years in the future, even during the lead-up to Independence Day, based on recent direction from the county commissioners.
John Stroud/Post Independent

Garfield County appears to have the second vote needed among county commissioners, and possibly even a third, to ban fireworks sales going forward.

However, there’s not enough time to enact such a ban to go along with the county’s prohibition on the personal use of fireworks for this summer.

To proceed this year, under state law, the county would have to draw up an ordinance, subject to two separate hearings before the county commissioners, plus a 30-day public notice period before it would take effect, County Attorney Tari Williams advised during the June 21 Board of County Commissioners meeting.

“So, for this year, I’m afraid it’s too late to ban sales (in time to capture the Fourth of July period),” she said.

Still, it appears the commissioners are ready to move in that direction on a permanent basis in future years.

“It is about time to say no more sales, especially with the red flag (warnings) that have been in place and the fire bans,” Commission Chairman John Martin said after a repeated request from county resident Ed Holub to enact a sales ban.

To accomplish that, the commissioners early next year would amend the county’s standing ordinance that bans the personal use of fireworks year-round to include commercial sales.

The exception, as with fireworks use, would be the period between May 30 and July 5.

Each year, the commissioners receive a report and recommendation from the emergency manager with the Sheriff’s Office regarding the current fire danger. The commissioners can then extend the fireworks ban to include that five-week period, as well.

Garfield County, Glenwood Springs and area federal land agencies are set to enter Stage 2 fire restrictions Friday, which specifically prohibits the use of fireworks and open campfires.

Until now, Martin and fellow Commissioner Mike Samson have been the holdouts in not wanting to prohibit the otherwise legal sales of certain types of fireworks allowed in Colorado.

Commissioner Tom Jankovsky has long supported such a ban.

“I’ve always been opposed to the sale since we’ve been discussing this,” Jankovsky said on Thursday. “Unfortunately, we can’t do anything before the end of July for this year, but it looks like we have that second vote now.”

During the Monday conversation, Jankovsky said it doesn’t make sense to ban the use of fireworks but not sales.

Martin said he’s ready to consider adding that language to the broader ordinance come next year.

“I have no objections,” added Samson.

A ban on sales would at least impact the one seasonal fireworks stand that has operated at the base of Cattle Creek Road at State Highway 82 each year around this time for several years.

Owners Ray and Aurora Cordova are traveling Christian evangelists and use the fireworks stand to raise money for their ministry. They’ve consistently lobbied the commissioners against banning sales or use, either one.

Reached on Thursday, Ray Cordova declined comment on the prospect of a year-round sales ban that could include the lead-up to the Fourth of July.

Jankovsky said he would welcome a change in the ordinance to ban sales.

“For this year, everyone just needs to be very careful,” he said.

Senior Reporter/Managing Editor John Stroud can be reached at 970-384-9160 or

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