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Durango’s fireworks ready for liftoff

By Jim Haug Herald staff writer

Fireworks are a go in Durango for the Fourth of July, barring an emergency or severe weather.

Dry conditions have prompted their cancellation in Bayfield and Vallecito, but Durango Fire & Rescue Authority decided it can protect the hillside where they will be launched, Fire Marshal Karola Hanks said Tuesday.

The fireworks are shot from an unoccupied space in Greenmount Cemetery, which overlooks downtown.

As a precaution, firefighters will wet down the hillside with foam before the launch, scheduled for about 9:15 p.m. Thursday, Hanks said.

“You’re going to see the area between the river and the cemetery turn kind of white to protect that vegetation,” Hanks said.

Because of a donation from Peak Energy and Jack Vaughn, firefighters will set off the fireworks electronically with a clicker instead of having to manually light the fuses, Hanks said.

“It’s much safer,” she said.

BP donated the cost of the fireworks.

The fireworks show should not be viewed as permission for the public to set off cherry bombs or sparklers in their backyard, Hanks said.

“We’re putting on a professional fireworks display, so we ask the general public to refrain from setting off any fireworks at home,” she said.

Because the firefighters are responsible for setting off the fireworks, they would have to cancel the show if they had to respond to a house fire or other unforeseen emergency.

If the weather changed dramatically, such as a gusty wind, the fireworks might also be called off.

“All of a sudden, the debris field from the fireworks becomes much larger (under windy conditions),” Hanks said. “It might move into areas we can’t access to protect with the fire equipment.”

The public is still advised against setting off its own fireworks, however small.

“Sparklers are wonderful at setting fires when it’s this dry,” Hanks said.


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