Fireworks canceled for Fruita

CHRISTOPHER TOMLINSON/The Daily Sentinel—A fire starts along the banks of the Colorado River during the Fruita July Fourth holiday fireworks show last year. Fire danger forced city officials to cancel this show this year.

The city of Fruita on Wednesday became the latest western Colorado community to pull the plug on holiday fireworks displays in the face of extreme wildfire danger.

This, as two smaller shows in Mesa County were denied exemptions to a statewide fire ban.

“Public safety is the top priority of the city of Fruita,” Mayor Lori Buck said in a statement announcing the cancelation of fireworks, which had been scheduled for July 3 along Snooks Bottom, at the banks of the Colorado River.

“While we all really enjoy the annual fireworks event, the high risk of a potential wildfire makes it prudent and smart to cancel this year’s show,” Buck said.

The decision was made in consultation with the Bureau of Land Management, the Mesa County Sheriff’s Department and Lower Valley Fire Protection District, City Manager Clint Kinney said. The cancelation of west-valley fireworks was believed to be the first since 2002, also a casualty of poor fire conditions, Kinney said.

In its place, Fruita officials said in a release a free concert featuring Ralph Dinosaur and the Fabulous Volcanoes will start at 7:30 p.m. July 3 at Civic Center Pavilion.

Fruita’s nixed fireworks came on the same day Mesa County Sheriff Stan Hilkey denied exemptions for Collbran and Gateway to host holiday displays.

Hilkey approved an exemption for a planned display at Bookcliff Country Club.

Proximity to fire fuels on public and private lands, structures, firefighter resources, availability and response times were among some of the factors considered, the Sheriff’s Department said.

Gov. John Hickenlooper issued an executive order June 14 banning private use of fireworks, but the measure allows county sheriffs to approve exemptions for public and commercial displays.

Grand Junction’s annual July 4 display at Lincoln Park will start at the conclusion of the day’s Grand Junction Rockies baseball game.

Glenwood Springs, Rifle, Aspen and Steamboat Springs have all moved to cancel fireworks.

Fruita Parks and Recreation Director Ture Nycum said $10,200 in fireworks already purchased for this year’s canceled display will continue to be stored by the city’s vendor, Utah-based Fireworks West, until there’s a decision about when they will be used.


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