City of Fort Collins reminds citizens of fireworks ban

Ravyn Cullor

As Independence Day approaches, the City of Fort Collins has reminded citizens that fireworks are banned within city limits via a press release issued on June 13.

According to the City’s website, all fireworks, including sparklers and snakes, are illegal to sell, possess or use in Fort Collins. The press release cited personal injury, fire danger and adverse reactions by those with PTSD and pets as reasons for the ban.

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The City’s annual 4th of July fireworks display will be presented by Blue Ocean Foundation over Sheldon Lake at City Park. Live music starts at 4:15 p.m. and fireworks will start around 9:35 p.m.

“Fireworks specifically pose an injury and risk in our community and across the nation,” said Madeline Noblett, the public information and communications officer for the Poudre Fire Authority.

The press release said an estimated 11,100 people are injured by fireworks and treated in hospitals in the United States every year, 900 of which are from sparklers and 400 from bottle rockets.

Those who wish to report firework activity in their neighborhood can report at fcgov.org/fireworks. Kate Kimble of the Fort Collins Police Department said the reports are entered into an online “heat map,” where dispatchers, police officers and citizens can see where the highest concentration of fireworks complaints are in town.

Fireworks that stay on the ground and “don’t go ‘bang!’” are legal outside city limits in Larimer County, said division chief of Community Safety and Services and the fire marshal at PFA, Bob Poncelow, in the Coloradoan.

Noblett also said that the PFA responds to firework-related fires every year around July 4.

“Fires start and grow faster than most people imagine,” Noblett said. “They can quickly threaten people and homes.”

According to the release, a fireworks-related fire burned around an acre of vegetation near Reservoir Ridge Natural Area in 2017 and around two acres at the Cathy Fromme Prairie Natural Area the year before.

While Larimer County is not currently under fire restrictions, the Sheriff’s Office sent out a release in early June warning that extended periods of hot and dry weather may cause higher fire danger and greater fire restrictions.

In 2012 the Independence Day fireworks display in City Park was delayed until September due to high fire risk, according to a 2012 Coloradoan article. That was the same summer more than 87,000 acres and upwards of 250 homes were destroyed in the High Park Fire near Fort Collins.

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According to the release, citizens should be cautious of campfires, hot vehicle exhausts and tall, dry grass, cigarettes, welding and sparks caused when metal lawn mower blades hit rocks in dry lawns.

Noblett said the PFA recommends a number of strategies to be prepared for an emergency, even when the county is not under fire restrictions.

This includes creating an emergency exit plan at home, assigning an emergency meeting spot, creating an emergency kit, checking smoke and carbon monoxide detectors regularly and signing up for emergency notifications.

Collegian reporter Ravyn Cullor can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @RCullor99.