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Fireworks: You Can Buy Them, Just Don't Light Them

Fireworks stand in Greeley.jpg
Erin O'Toole

In the days leading up to the fourth of July, authorities across Colorado say they’ll be working hard to enforce a ban on the private use of fireworks. Governor John Hickenlooper issued a statewide fire ban last week [.pdf]  including the personal use of most fireworks because of the extreme fire danger.

However, despite the ban on their use, stores and roadside stands in most parts of Colorado are still allowed to sell them. That could create headaches for law enforcement trying to ensure the proper use of fireworks.

“I would guess that we will probably see a huge increase in the amount of fireworks complaints that we’ll go to,” says Sergeant Tim Schwartz with the Weld County Sheriff’s office.

Fireworks vendor Steve Bradley told the Denver Post that 'safe and sane' fireworks - like those sold in Colorado - start very few fires. He's afraid that making it harder to buy fireworks legally will only drive people to stores in nearby states like Wyoming, which sell more dangerous explosives.

Policies on what's allowed vary by county. Violators statewide can be fined up to $1,000 and be held liable for any damage that results.

Professional and municipal fireworks displays are still allowed with written approval from individual county sheriffs.

Update 2:44pm: The Board of Larimer County Commissioners has banned all open fires, contained open fires, and the sale and use of fireworks and public firework displays in unincorporated Larimer County. The additional restrictions are in place though September 30th.

As host of KUNC's Colorado Edition, I work closely with our producers and reporters to bring context and diverse perspectives to the important issues of the day. And because life is best when it's a balance of work and play, I love finding stories that highlight culture, music, the outdoors, and anything that makes Colorado such a great place to live.
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