No tickets issued for 4th fireworks violations

Grand Valley law enforcement agencies didn’t write a single ticket for fireworks use this week as Colorado’s statewide fire ban stamped out personal fireworks shows, with the majority of residents keeping their celebrations fire-free.

“There was a significant decrease in fireworks activity compared to previous years,” Sheriff’s Department spokesman Ben Carnes said.

The Grand Junction Police Department received 117 fireworks-related calls this Fourth of July, compared to 64 calls in 2011. Spokeswoman Kate Porras said the higher number of calls relates to residents’ increased awareness of fire danger.

“I think people are very aware of the fire ban and why we have it,” Porras said. “People understand how dangerous it is, and that heightened awareness leads to more people responding (by calling in).”

Carnes noted that the total number of calls does not take into account multiple calls on the same incident.

Police officers responded to as many calls as possible, with the Sheriff’s Department responding to 48 of the 68 calls they received.

Warnings, not tickets, were issued in every incident.

“Our objective is to get people to stop doing what they’re doing if it’s illegal. If a warning will take care of that, then that’s what we’ll do,” Porras said.

Fruita Police Sgt. John Coughran said he only saw one call related to fireworks this year, and it was not responded to because they couldn’t get a location on the caller.

“I think the voluntary compliance with the fire ban was incredible,” Coughran said.

The Palisade Police Department did not receive any calls about fireworks this week, compared to around 12 calls in previous years, according to Police Chief Carroll Quarles.

“I think the community did a very good job and I didn’t expect it,” Quarles said. “I was expecting some diehard people lighting off fireworks. We were very fortunate.”

According to the Grand Junction Fire Department, no fires were started by fireworks on the Fourth, though they received several calls about charcoal barbecue use, which is also banned.

“I’m so happy people are paying attention to (the ban) and following through,” Fire Department spokesman Mike Page said. “This was the least amount of activity I’ve ever seen in Grand Junction.”

“We really appreciate everybody that has abided by the ban. Driving through town, it was very quiet compared to other years. We truly appreciate that,” Porras said.


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