Tuesday, July 2, 2019

No fire restrictions for July 4th, fire danger still a concern

MESA COUNTY, Colo – The Mesa County Sheriff’s Office and the Upper Colorado River Interagency Fire Management Unit have determined current conditions do not warrant implementing fire restrictions, but advise people to celebrate the Fourth of July responsibly. 

Spring rains created an abundance of rarely seen green around the valley, but that lush growth is now dormant, dried and ready to burn. Right now in Mesa County fine fuels, such as grass, have already dried and cured for the season and could easily catch and spread wildfire quickly.

“We wish everyone a safe Independence Day. Please be responsible and respectful if you choose to use legal fireworks. There is a concern for human caused fires during the holiday weekend, especially in lower elevations,” said Mesa County Sheriff Matt Lewis. “Be mindful of your surroundings and respectful of others as you enjoy this holiday weekend.”

On July 4th more fires are reported than any other day of the year and fireworks are the cause for more than half of them, according to the National Fire Protection Association.

“As we head into the busy holiday weekend remember to exercise caution and common sense when setting off LEGAL fireworks,” said Grand Junction Fire Chief Ken Watkins.

When using fireworks it is extremely important to stay away from dry grass and wooded areas. It just takes one spark to start a wildfire that can put lives and property at risk.

"Recreational users on public lands should keep a few things in mind that can help prevent an unintentional wildfire,” said Bureau of Land Management Acting Field Manager Wayne Werkmeister. “Practicing proper vehicle maintenance; ensuring that tow chains are secured and a vehicle has no dragging parts, and properly maintaining your breaks. Park your vehicles/trailers and off-highway vehicles away from dry grass or brush. When target shooting taking a few simple precautions can prevent devastating results: place your target on dirt or gravel, switch to paper targets, bring a shovel and fire extinguisher, and report any fires by calling 911."

The use of fireworks, flares, or other incendiary devices, including exploding targets, are always prohibited on federal lands.

  • The use of fireworks on federal land is always ILLEGAL. 
  • It is ILLEGAL to knowingly sell or provide fireworks to anyone under 16 years of ages. No one under the age of 16 can purchase fireworks. Colorado law requires adult supervision for persons under 16 years of age to possess or discharge fireworks. 
  • Permissible LEGAL fireworks include: Cylindrical or cone fountains, wheels and ground spinners, illuminating torches and colored fire, dipped sticks and sparklers, toy propellant or toy smoke devices, trick noise makers and snake or glow worms are all permissible. 
  • ILLEGAL Fireworks: Fireworks not meeting the definition of permissible fireworks including but not limited to cherry bombs, roman candles, firecrackers, bottle rockets, shells and rockets, M-80s and M-100s, and helicopters are all examples of illegal fireworks. 
  • A good rule of thumb: anything that explodes or leaves the ground is most likely ILLEGAL in Colorado.

 If you see a fire start, call 911 immediately.

Wednesday, July 3rd
  • 9:30pm at Snooks Bottom in Fruita: The Fruita Parks and Recreation department will be hosting a fireworks display at dusk. The fireworks will be launched from Snooks Bottom. There is no designated viewing area.
Thursday, July 4th
  • 10:30-11:00am Independence Monument: Mesa County Search and Rescue Technical Team will climb Independence Monument and raise the American Flag. Viewing locations at several view points on the Colorado Monument.
  • Fireworks after the GJ Rockies Game at Lincoln Park: Game attendees are invited to stay in the stadium to enjoy the fireworks show, and community members are invited to bring their families and watch the display from Lincoln Park.