12:37pm

Fri July 5, 2013
Wildfire

Errant Firework Cause Of Windsor Burn

A view of the blackened burn area from the west side of Windsor Lake on July 5th.
Credit Jackie Fortier / KUNC

Spectators in Windsor were treated to more than just a patriotic Fourth of July display Thurday night when a small brush fire was ignited by a wayward firework.

It exploded and that sent little fire balls throughout the area of dry grass that created multiple small fires

The fire ignited on the north side of Windsor Lake, in an area covered in cheat grass, dried weeds and small bushes. The south side of the fire was allowed to burn down to the lake, while firefighters stopped the fire on the north side before it could threaten the agricultural property nearby, according to Windsor Severance Fire Chief Herb Brady. He says a professional firework company was in charge of the municipal display and the fire was caused by a firework exploding prematurely.

“One of the shells according to the producer was to go to an altitude of 150 feet before exploding and this one didn't make even 100 feet according to his estimate. It exploded and that sent little fire balls throughout the area of dry grass that created multiple small fires," Brady said.

Though the fire department wet down the area around the display the embers flew beyond the prepared area.

Brady says instances of fires at municipal shows are not uncommon, and that the location next to Windsor Lake was chosen for the natural fire break the lake provides. No structures were damaged.

Spectators uploaded videos of their view of the fire, including this one from Lori Colburn, which shows the fireworks show continuing despite the flames.

A fireworks stand at 10th Street and 59th Avenue was doing robust business on July 4th, but officials warn of fire danger in the dry conditions.
Credit Jackie Fortier / KUNC

"The takeaway from this for everyone it’s extremely dry and almost anything can start a fire," said Brady. "We worry mostly about the illegal fireworks because the legal ones, they’re done by professionals and then we take a lot of steps to make sure it’s safe. The illegal fireworks however, if you can imagine a single bottle rocket out in that field without a fire truck standing by could have grown quite sizable before we were able to arrive.”

As recently as Thursday night officials were warning that people caught with illegal fireworks would face a $500 fine.