City cancels July 4 display

Fire danger cited for postponing annual fireworks

The city of Durango has canceled its annual Fourth of July fireworks display because of the recent statewide fire ban.

“We have been monitoring this situation for several days, and we evaluated all the various factors and considered the governor’s recent executive order,” City Manager Ron LeBlanc said.

Silverton on Tuesday announced it was canceling its fireworks show, which the town billed as the best Fourth of July display on the Western Slope.

Bayfield and Vallecito also have canceled their fireworks displays, said Dan Bender, spokesman for the La Plata County Sheriff’s Office.

Bayfield is discussing delaying the fireworks until Labor Day, said Matt Coker, Upper Pine Fire River Protection District board commissioner.

LeBlanc said Durango will find another reason to shoot off the city’s $15,000 worth of fireworks, which were donated by BP.

La Plata County has placed restrictions on open burning within the county, and Durango currently prohibits open burning within city limits. The use of open flames, charcoal grills and backyard fires are strongly discouraged, a news release said.

“We were in those talks. We recommended it (the cancellation), and we fully support their decision,” said Capt. Michael Krupa with Durango Fire & Rescue Authority.

Officials are concerned that people will shoot off their own fireworks, which is illegal in Colorado.

“There is a concern that private parties will launch illegal fireworks, and I do know that Upper Pine and neighboring districts will be taking precautions to identify and respond as needed,” Coker said.

Bender also said the Sheriff’s Office will “vigorously” pursue those who shoot off fireworks.

Gov. John Hickenlooper on June 14 said municipal or professional displays are allowed with the written permission from the corresponding county sheriff.

The San Juan County Sheriff’s Office and fire officials decided it was too risky, Gilbert Archuleta, chief of the Silverton Volunteer Fire Department, said Tuesday.

The parched conditions causing the elevated fire danger also prompted Bayfield to institute a restriction on outdoor water usage effective Sunday, which will remain in effect until Sept. 15 unless conditions change, according to a town news release.

Properties with even-numbered addresses can water on even-numbered days, and properties with odd-numbered addresses can water on odd-numbered days. All watering needs to be done between 6 p.m. and 9 a.m. The schedule will be enforced by the Bayfield Public Works Department and the Bayfield Marshal’s Office, the release said.

Penalties for violations include $50 for the first violation, $100 for the second and $500 for each additional violation.

Durango this week sent out a news release encouraging residents to conserve water, but the city has not imposed any restrictions.

jdahl@durangoherald.com

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