Fire safety, river use focus of enforcement

Durango is an excellent place to be during the summer months: so many activities to enjoy, and not enough weekends to get to all of them.

With all that’s going on, it is easy to forget the rules that apply to these activities and the responsibility we have for our own personal safety. The police department would like to remind all residents and visitors about some of the more commonly enforced municipal ordinances in the summer.

Fire danger always is a concern. Many of us lived through the Missionary Ridge Fire and would not like to live through another fire of that magnitude. Fourth of July is right around the corner. Remember that the city’s municipal code prohibits possession of fireworks, which are defined as “any combustible or explosive material combined in such a manner as to produce lights or flashes of light or explosive noises for display or amusement.” Open fires also are banned inside city limits unless permitted by the fire code official.

Because of the danger, the police department frequently enforces these ordinances with a “no-tolerance” policy. During the Fourth of July, we will have extra officers out specifically enforcing the fireworks ordinance. This effort is not done to ruin someone’s holiday but rather to keep everyone safe from the high fire danger. Enjoy the fireworks display that will be put on by professionals from Durango Fire & Rescue Authority.

Rafting and tubing on the Animas River are enjoyed by many residents and visitors alike. With so many people on the river, water-safety issues become especially important. You should always wear a personal flotation device; never get in or on the water when you are intoxicated; and always check your equipment before embarking on a water trip. Open and closed containers of alcohol are not allowed on the water or in city parks.

Be courteous of others in the neighborhoods and on the water and have a fun and safe Fourth of July.

In relation to rafting and tubing, the police department frequently enforces codes banning open containers of alcohol; possession and consumption of alcohol in parks; urinating in public; and disturbing the peace.

Most river users do not know that the Animas River has been designated as a park where it travels through city limits. Even possession of alcohol is prohibited on the river. The Durango Police Department deploys bike-patrol officers throughout the summer who are assigned to work the river trail and raft put-ins looking for these and other violations.

Take the time to familiarize yourself with the rules associated with your activities so you can enjoy a safe and citation-free summer.

Lt. Ray Shupe is assistant operations division commander with the Durango Police Department.