Garfield County bans fireworks in unincorporated areas
Additional resolution would be needed to prohibit all pyrotechnics use from June 1-July 5
Hot, dry and windy conditions in recent days are rapidly increasing the wildfire danger in Garfield County, and county commissioners have already acted to remove one potential fire starter from the picture.
County commissioners this week followed through on a previously discussed ordinance prohibiting the personal use of fireworks in unincorporated parts of the county, outside city limits.
The request was initially made by the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office and the county’s emergency manager last month amid growing fire danger concerns headed into the late spring and summer months.
Adding to the concern this year is a desire to not have to put firefighters at risk during the ongoing efforts by public health officials and elected officials to control the spread of COVID-19.
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The ordinance, approved unanimously by the commissioners, will remain in place for the remainder of 2020, except for the period from June 1 through July 5. That period of time is exempted under state law, unless the commissioners act separately to prohibit the private use of fireworks then, as well.
“This ordinance covers the banned use of fireworks, not the sale,” a county press release explains. “The county can cancel the ordinance at any time, if favorable conditions are in place, such as during winter.”
If dangerous weather conditions are present in June and over the July 4th holiday, the Sheriff’s Office can bring forth a supplemental resolution banning the use of all fireworks, including those sold in the state legally, from May 31 through July 5, according to the release.
“Personally, I’m a big supporter of the Fourth of July,” Commissioner Mike Samson said during the May 18 Board of County Commissioners meeting. “But this will make it easier for us to do our job to protect the people if dangerous wildfire conditions are present.”
The restriction takes effect immediately. Anyone in violation of the fireworks ban could face a fine of up to $1,000 for each offense.
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A leading critic of the Basalt shooting range contends Colorado Parks and Wildlife hasn’t done enough to make the public facility “fire safe.” CPW officials counter they have bolstered fire safety since the 2018 Lake Christine Fire and continue to eye improvements.