Firework use dangerous in dry conditions

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CLIFTON, Colo. (KKCO) -- Independence Day is just around the corner and many in the community are looking forward to the festive holiday, but they'll have to enjoy July 4th without lighting their own fireworks.

In Mesa County we currently are under fire restrictions, which prohibit open burning of any kind and the use of personal fireworks. With conditions ripe for wildfires, fire officials warn against the dangers of using fireworks this 4th of July.

A personal firework ban isn't something new for Mesa County. During last year's Fourth of July it was a similar story, when fireworks were restricted as well, but with all of the firework stands popping up in town; many are confused about the ban. However, officials say we are under fire restrictions and personal fireworks are prohibited and dangerous in our weather conditions.

Jasmine Vanderpool is a local mom and teacher and when it comes to a personal fireworks ban, she has a personal story of her own. She and her family lit fireworks one year when there was a ban and they thought they were being safe, by lighting them on their own property, but it didn't take much for the fun fireworks to backfire.

“Literally starting fires on each side, we had one over by our mailbox, one under our vehicle, we had another one that hit the vehicle and bounced off so we all scattered and I think we had four multiple fires in different areas, yea it was pretty intense," said Vanderpool.

Fortunately, Vanderpool and her family were safe and no one was hurt, but she is a perfect example of how personal fireworks can be dangerous to you and your family.

Chris Rowland, the Operations Chief at the Clifton Fire Department, warns against lighting fireworks in the valley's current dry conditions.

“If they use fireworks or light a firework in their own backyard that fire can spread very rapidly under these conditions to neighboring structures and neighboring properties," said Rowland.

In order for the community to understand the seriousness of lighting personal fireworks, Rowland demonstrated, in a controlled environment, how easily dry brush can catch fire from a firework.

The Clifton Fire Official also says you don't know how hot a firework will be after it goes off, the embers may still be burning and if not properly disposed of, can cause a fire. He also explains how fireworks can let off sparks that may ignite dry brush in neighborhoods, which is exactly how Vanderpool's fire was ignited. Now, she understands the dangers of lighting fireworks during a fire ban and offers her advice, to help other families stay safe.

“It’s just so quick and that's what people don't realize is how fast is does happen," said Vanderpool.

Clifton Fire Officials say they'll be looking out for anyone lighting fires and if people call and complain about someone lighting fireworks they will respond to the call. And officials want to remind the community personal use of fireworks is banned this year.

If you would like to watch fireworks on the 4th of July, Suplizio Field will have a professional firework show; you and your family can attend. Tickets are available at the Parks and Rec office.

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