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July 4: What you can blow up and where

Categories: News, Things to Do

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A Flickr photo

So you want to set some shit off this weekend? Because different jurisdictions have different rules, fireworks that may be perfectly lawful on one block may be illegal on the next. Most items that neither explode nor leave the ground are permissible in Colorado. But in Wheat Ridge, all fireworks -- even fountains and sparklers -- are verboten within the city limits.

To help make sense of this patchwork (or maybe add to the confusion), we've assembled five fireworks-related press releases we've received from cities and counties over the past week or so. Look to see if your area is represented before you light your fire.

Wheat Ridge Police Department press release:

Wheat Ridge Police Enforce a No Tolerance Policy for Illegal Use of Fireworks

Police and Fire work together to ensure a safe holiday weekend.

Wheat Ridge, Colorado -- As the 4th of July holiday approaches, the Wheat Ridge Police Department would like to remind citizens that ALL fireworks, including sparklers and fountains, are illegal within the city limits. Section 5-86 of the Wheat Ridge Code of Laws prohibits fireworks and establishes punishment for violations in the form of fines, jail time or both. Historically the police department receives a high volume of complaints and will have extra officers on duty specifically for fireworks enforcement.

In the weeks leading up to the July 4th holiday, emergency service provider's resources are significantly impacted by the increased number of complaint calls for the illegal use of fireworks. The increase in call load can also impact the response time to other more urgent, human safety calls.

The Wheat Ridge Police Department, Wheat Ridge Fire Department, Arvada Fire Department, Fairmount Fire Department and West Metro Fire will be working together to enforce local and State ordinances prohibiting fireworks. Each Agency is committed to ensuring a safe Independence Day for Wheat Ridge and surrounding communities and will have extra staff patrolling the neighborhoods, parks and the greenbelt. All local fire stations are accepting surrendered fireworks from community members. No questions asked.

Persons in possession of fireworks in the City of Wheat Ridge will be citied into Municipal Court; and may face a fine of up to $999.00, up to a year in jail, or both. If the use of fireworks causes serious bodily injury or damages other property than more serious felony charges apply.

For Americans, Fourth of July celebrations usually signify summer fun, vacations, and the gathering of family and friends. Independence Day can also bring tragedy. On average, more fires are reported in the U.S. on July 4th than on any other day. Fireworks account for half of those reported fires.

Sparklers, firecrackers, and rockets are the leading contributors to personal injuries during the fireworks "season".

Did you know?

• The tip of a sparkler burns at a temperature over 1,200 degrees? This is hot enough to cause third degree burns.

• Over 90% of fireworks injuries treated in hospital emergency rooms are caused by fireworks that Federal regulations permit consumers to use.

"The Fourth of July is a time of celebration, family picnics and enjoying the outdoors. Unfortunately, these celebrations can be ruined when property is destroyed or injuries occur as the result of the illegal use of fireworks. The Police Department experiences a significant increase in calls for service this time of year related to the illegal use of fireworks. These calls take away from our time to work on more serious police related calls for service," said Police Chief Dan Brennan.

All calls related to fireworks received by the Wheat Ridge Police Department will be prioritized and the first available officer will be dispatched using the following standards:

• Firework calls involving injury or property damage,

• Firework complaints of an emergent nature, eg., children present, hazardous areas, fireworks in the greenbelt, etc.

• Firework complaints where the name of the person illegally using the fireworks is known or can be identified,

• Frequency of calls to a specific location involving the same person(s).

"In a community effort to minimize the risk of property damage and personal injury caused by fireworks, I would ask that citizens refrain from the use of illegal fireworks," Chief Brennan continued. "The police department is taking a strong enforcement stance regarding the illegal use of fireworks. Summonses shall be issued when appropriate for violations of the fireworks ordinance to include the possession, use, storage and sale of fireworks. I would encourage everyone to have a safe Fourth of July holiday by enjoying one of the many planned Fourth of July celebrations held throughout the Denver-metro area."

Jefferson County Sheriff's Department release:

Jefferson County clarifies the use and possession of fireworks

Sheriff's Office sets up informational hotline

Jefferson County, Colorado -- With the Fourth of July rapidly approaching, the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office would like to clarify Colorado law as it applies to the use and possession of fireworks in the unincorporated areas of Jefferson County.

A good rule of thumb: any device that explodes or leaves the ground is most likely illegal in Colorado. Illegal fireworks include but are not limited to firecrackers, cherry bombs, bottle rockets, M-80's and Roman candles. It is illegal to sell, use or possess non-permissible fireworks in unincorporated Jefferson County. Additionally, all fireworks are prohibited in Jefferson County Open Space Parks, Denver Mountain Parks and Forest Service lands.

Colorado law defines permissible fireworks as any device that does not explode or leave the ground. Examples of permissible fireworks are cylindrical or cone fountains, sparklers, toy smoke devices, snakes and glow worms. Keep in mind; while permissible fireworks may seem harmless, they continue to account for many fireworks-related injuries each year.

To report illegal fireworks, residents may call the Jefferson County fireworks hotline at
303-271-8025. Residents may also call the hotline for information on where to purchase legal fireworks, and for a list of area public fireworks displays.

Jefferson County deputies will strictly enforce illegal fireworks violations in the unincorporated areas of the county this coming holiday. Any person who violates the laws pertaining to the sale, possession and use of fireworks commits a class three misdemeanor and may face a fine of up to $750. For more information on fireworks safety, visit our Web site at www.jeffcosheriff.com. The Jefferson County Sheriff's Office wishes everyone a happy and safe Independence Day.

Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office release:

Crime Prevention Tips: Fireworks

It is essential to understand the legal ramifications regarding the use of fireworks. Under Colorado State Law the sales and use of "legal fireworks" cannot be prohibited in an unincorporated county area. Municipalities, under home rule, can adopt ordinances that are more restrictive than State Law including prohibiting sales, use, and possession of all fireworks within the city boundaries. Each year the careless use of fireworks contributes to personal injuries and large financial losses to property owners, insurance companies and the community. Use of fireworks could also result in criminal charges such as Arson and Reckless Endangerment as well as civil penalties for damages caused from the fireworks.

The City of Centennial has adopted ordinance 2004-0-17 section 10.10.30 which bans the sales, use, and possession of all fireworks within the city limits. Other cities in Colorado have adopted similar ordinances. The maximum fine for possession and use of fireworks within Centennial is $1,000.00.

The use of "illegal fireworks" in unincorporated county areas is a Class 3 Misdemeanor and is punishable with fines up to a maximum of $750.00 and/or up to six months imprisonment. The towns of Foxfield, Bennett and Deer Trail have not adopted their own fireworks ordinances, thus they fall under the same enforcement laws as Unincorporated Arapahoe County.

To report fireworks violations call the Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office at (303) 795-4711. For all emergency situations, call 911.

If you have any questions, contact Deputy Amir Stephen at (720) 874-3752, e-mail astephen@co.arapahoe.co.us, or contact Deputy Brian McKnight at (720) 874-3750, e-mail bmcknight@co.arapahoe.co.us. To report a crime, call the Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office at (303)-795-4711 or 911 for emergencies.

City of Boulder release:

City announces Fourth of July procedures at city, neighborhood parks and the Boulder Reservoir

The city of Boulder Parks and Recreation Department wants to remind residents to have a safe and courteous Fourth of July holiday weekend by observing the following rules when visiting Boulder's city and neighborhood parks:

• Charcoal and gas barbeque grills are not allowed in parks

• Alcohol is not permitted without an alcohol permit (alcohol permits require 15 days for processing)

• Glass containers are not allowed

• Park shelters may be reserved in advance for a fee

• Fireworks are not allowed

• Gatherings of 50 or more people require a permit through Parks and Recreation. For more information, call 303-413-7200.

Boulder Reservoir

• Glass containers are not allowed

• Open fires, personal charcoal and wood grills are not allowed

• Approved charcoal grills are available for rent at the reservoir

• Gas grills are allowed with ABC fire extinguisher

• Alcohol is allowed at private functions, however, operating a vehicle or watercraft while under the influence of alcohol or drugs is illegal. All state and local laws apply to the consumption of alcohol and will be strictly enforced.

• Fireworks are not allowed

• Gatherings of 50 or more people require a permit. For more information, call 303-441-1806.

City of Boulder police officers patrol the Reservoir weekends and holidays during the summer to provide public safety and enforce laws.

Denver Police Department release:

The greatest anticipated event of the Fourth of July takes place as the sun sets; the night sky then fills with explosions of bright colors as fireworks fill up the darkness. But despite their beauty to humans they can be cruel and dangerous to the neighborhood pets. Fireworks cause a state of panic and anxiety to an animal because the loud noises created are so sporadic and intense to their ears they cannot adjust to calm themselves. This Fourth of July, Denver's Animal Care and Control and the Denver Police Department are teaming up to help educate the community about how we need to be considerate of our four legged friends over the holiday.


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