Montrose, CO– The annual 4th of July community fireworks show on Sunset Mesa is still on as scheduled, city and fire officials said this week. Despite critical drought conditions in the surrounding areas, conditions within the city remain less problematic, so there is currently no ban on firework sales in the city limits.
Even though no ban currently exists on the sale of fireworks, city and fire officials stress consumers should be aware of the increased fire danger and remain proactive in using fireworks safely.
The Montrose City Council recently received the application for the annual show. Councilors said they hope the public will not take fireworks sold in Montrose outside the city where drought conditions have prompted an open burn ban from Montrose County. Other counties in the region have similar bans in place where fireworks in those areas are strictly prohibited.
Because there is no fire ban within the jurisdiction of the City of Montrose, the Montrose Fire Protection District said therefore, imposing a ban on the sale of fireworks was difficult to enforce.
Montrose Fire Protection District Chief Tad Rowan said the urban landscape within the city with miles of pavement and concrete along with healthy green vegetation made fire risk lower than in unincorporated areas like Montrose County.
City Manager Bill Bell said Monday the city would like to see mandatory signage displayed at all firework stands educating consumers about safe practices when using fireworks and about the fire ban outside the city limits. In the weeks before the 4th of July and in the weeks after the fireworks show, city police receive numerous reports of fireworks being set off in the city.
Rowan said the community fireworks show could be postponed or canceled if conditions worsen.
"Right now we feel comfortable we can do the community fireworks show, but ask me again in three weeks and I might have a different answer for you,” he said.
Rowan said fire officials will examine the area on Sunset Mesa about a week before the show to determine whether conditions make the show is possible or not. In past years, firefighters have staged equipment on the mesa during the show to snuff out any embers that spark dry ground vegetation. That plan has not changed, as fire protection firefighters will again be on scene during the show.
Rowan and Bell each said they have had many discussions on the ban and use of fireworks in the city. They said the city and fire district would continue to monitor conditions and issue directives as they become warranted.
According to the National Fire Protection Association fireworks cause an average of 18,500 reported fires per year. And sparklers account for roughly one-quarter of emergency room injuries from fireworks. Sparklers can burn at about 1,200-degrees which can cause third-degree burns.
The National Fire Protection Association said the public should attend a public fireworks show put on by professionals and to not use consumer fireworks.
Please note that the City of Montrose does have a ban on all aerial fireworks.
The Montrose Fire Protection District have issued these safety reminders for everyone who purchases fireworks to follow:
• Always have an adult present and never give fireworks to young children, even sparklers.
• Remember that alcohol and fireworks do not mix.
• Purchase legal consumer fireworks from a licensed store, stand or tent.
• Read and follow the directions on the labels.
• Only use fireworks outdoors away from buildings on a flat, level, hard, fireproof surface that is free from debris.
• Have a working garden hose or bucket of water handy.
• Keep spectators at a safe distance.
• Always wear safety glasses when igniting fireworks.
• Light only one firework at a time.
• Never place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device.
• Never throw fireworks at another person.
• Never carry a firework in your pocket or shoot fireworks from a metal or glass container.
• Allow finished fireworks to stand for at least 20 minutes. Submerge in water, drain and place in a plastic bag for outside disposal in a covered trash can.
For more city news visit: CityOfMontrose.org