Fireworks vendor asks Garfield County to rescind sales ban
GLENWOOD SPRINGS — A local vendor who operates a seasonal fireworks stand between Glenwood Springs and Carbondale wants Garfield County commissioners to reconsider their recent ban on fireworks sales in the unincorporated parts of the county.
“This is the wettest year we’ve had in a long time,” Ray Cordova said at the regular commissioners meeting on Monday.
“Fireworks don’t start fires, people do, same as guns don’t kill people,” Cordova said in asking the commissioners to rescind the fireworks sales ban before the lead-up to the Fourth of July holiday when he normally sets up shop near the CMC turnoff on Highway 82.
“If we don’t sell them, people will just go to another county and buy them,” he said. “I feel like we’re being targeted.”
Last month, on evidence that warm, dry conditions were likely to return with the summer season in June and July, the commissioners passed an ordinance prohibiting the private use and sales of fireworks.
The temporary ban will remain in effect through the end of the year, unless the commissioners determine at some point, based on expert testimony, that the fire danger is not as severe as it was predicted to be.
Should cooler, moist weather prevail over the next couple of weeks, the commissioners may decide to lift the ban prior to the July Fourth holiday.
“There are provisions for us to reconsider,” Commission Chairman John Martin said.
“We do need to hear that scientific data and the opinion of our fire marshals and the sheriff” to make that determination, he said.
State laws require that the ordinance be put in place ahead of time, in order to be in effect prior to the time when fireworks stands and use normally takes place around the holiday.
“We were required by state law to do this in a certain manner,” Commissioner Tom Jankovsky said.
Even though it ended up being a wetter May than predicted, that can change fast in June, he said.
“Three weeks of dry, hot weather and everything can change,” Jankovksy said.
The county’s ban does not affect public fireworks displays put on by municipalities or community organizations. It also only affects sales and individual use of fireworks outside city limits. However, municipalities can also act to temporarily ban the sales and use fireworks, even those that are normally legal under Colorado law.
“The fireworks we sell are just glorified sparklers,” Cordova said. “They don’t go up in the air and they don’t explode, and they are Colorado approved.
“It’s just something people enjoy doing, and if they do it in a safe environment, people are very responsible,” he said.
Commissioners agreed to revisit the ordinance later this month, around the time Cordova and other vendors would be setting up their fireworks stands.
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