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Skipping July 4 fireworks makes sense

No fireworks on July 4?

Isn’t that like no cake on your birthday?

Well, sometimes skipping cake is the grown-up choice — and it may well be the right decision going forward for Glenwood Springs.

We support the Glenwood Springs’ City Council’s decision to forgo a summer holiday display this year, even though that’s unpopular with some residents, based on comments on the Post Independent Facebook page, where many people also accepted the reasoning.

Mayor Leo McKinney defended the decision.

“This may very well become the new normal,” he posted on Facebook. “Twenty minutes of pretty sky pictures didn’t seem worth the risk of burning down the town. Our job is to make the tough decisions with the long view in mind, and this one was made unanimously.”

The perennial risk of fire in the West is the overriding concern, and this year Glenwood must weigh a sensitive matter of appearances.

Our town will be the host on Sunday of the 20-year commemoration of the South Canyon Fire, which killed 14 firefighters on Storm King Mountain on July 6, 1994. They were protecting our town when they died. With relatives and firefighters coming to town to mark the somber occasion, it would risk being tone deaf to hold a fireworks display two or three days before the ceremony.

Rifle, Aspen and Apple Tree Park, which is in New Castle, don’t have to worry about Storm King sensibilities, will have fireworks, and a range of other activities are planned in Garfield County communities.

Professional fireworks displays rarely result in accidents. But even in a year blessed with lots of winter and spring moisture and a moderate fire danger, it’s impossible to set off fireworks in an arid climate and not create just a little anxiety.

It’s been hot for several days and conditions are drying out. An exploding clay pigeon sparked a small fire near Rifle this week.

Dry summers led to cancellation of July 4 fireworks each of the last two years, as the Post Independent’s John Stroud reported Monday. Last year, the display was moved to be part of the Ski Spree celebration, and City Council is likely to consider that again.

That’s a sound move that can create certainty. If it’s ever too dry in February for a fireworks display, then fireworks are the least of our worries. And, really, that’s the case anyway.

We don’t need explosives to enjoy the beauty around here, though a glittering winter display could be frosting on the cake.


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