Sizzle returns for July Fourth

Fire threat eased; fireworks OK on county, state land

You can light up the ground with any number of dazzling fire hazards this Independence Day, but “if they blow up or go up,” the explosives are probably illegal in Colorado, said Grand Junction Fire Department Deputy Fire Chief Jim Bright.

For the first time in years, people who like to watch the pop and burn of fireworks on the Fourth of July may do so to their heart’s content on state and county lands, Bright said.

Fuel conditions are favorable enough to avoid fire restrictions on public lands managed by the Upper Colorado River Interagency Unit, fire officials said. Additionally, that means people headed to campgrounds across the region will be allowed to have fires in designated fire pits.

Thrill-seekers will find it difficult to purchase illegal explosives around Mesa County, though. Permitting and inspections make sure such products are kept off the shelves, Bright said.

Most vendors who set up locally are well-known to the fire department, he said.

“They know what’s expected. We don’t normally have any issues,” Bright said.

This year could be different, though, since few fire restrictions are in place for the holiday.

Fire officials reminded patriots there are legal limits to the use of fireworks, even if few fire restrictions are in place. Remember:

■ The use of fireworks on federal land is illegal.

■ No one under the age of 16 can purchase or possess fireworks.

■ Any devices or components that project or disperse metal, glass, or brittle plastic fragments are illegal. Cherry bombs, roman candles, firecrackers, bottle rockets, shells and rockets, M-80s and M-100s, and helicopters are all examples of illegal fireworks.

A good rule of thumb: anything that explodes or leaves the ground is most likely illegal in Colorado, fire officials said.

Any person who violates the laws pertaining to the sale, possession, and use of fireworks commits a class 3 misdemeanor and faces up to $750 in fines, six months in prison, or both, fire officials said.

Cylindrical or cone fountains, wheels and ground spinners, illuminating torches and colored fire, dipped sticks and sparklers are examples of legal fireworks, Bright said.


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