Garfield County expands firework use prohibition

Extended prohibition runs June 14 through July 5 due to hot, dry conditions

The Garfield County Board of County Commissioners has extended a prohibition on firework use in unincorporated Garfield County to cover the period through July 5 due to severe drought conditions in western Colorado.

The county already has in place a one-year prohibition that began on April 5, 2021, but the dates of May 31 through July 5 are exempt because of a state law that requires counties to show “competent evidence of high fire danger” to prohibit firework use during this time. The law was designed to give counties flexibility to allow residents to ignite legal fireworks around Independence Day if the conditions allow for safe use, which is not the case in 2021.

Garfield County Emergency Manager Chris Bornholdt told the commissioners that there is a high fire danger in the area and dry and hot conditions are forecast for the immediate future, necessitating the extension of the fireworks use prohibition.

“It’s drying out quickly right now,” he told the board. “It keeps getting dryer and there’s no moisture in sight. We have right around a week forecast of near 100-degree temperatures and if it’s windy things will dry out very quickly. We’re to a point where it’s time for us to do this.”

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has forecast the next 14 days as dry and hot, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported Colorado River Valley snowpack at 25 percent of normal on June 9. The flows of the Colorado and Roaring Fork rivers peaked on June 6 and vegetation (fuels) in the area are currently showing below average moisture content.

“Garfield County and much of the west is in the exceptional drought category,” said Commissioner Mike Samson. “We have to pay attention to this.”

The board approved the extension of the firework use prohibition unanimously, 3-0. Go to the the county’s website for more on the firework use prohibition.

Garfield County expands firework use prohibition