Dry Conditions Prompt No Fireworks
Lake City Fire Marshal and Fire District Manager Bill Hagendorf announced June 27 that the traditional fireworks display on July 4 has been cancelled. Citing concerns over the ongoing, extremely dry conditions in southwest Colorado, “the decision was made with the full backing and support of the Fire District Board to cancel this year’s display.”
“We’ve been under Stage 1 Fire Restrictions for weeks,” he said. “After looking at the all the weather models, short and long term, it’s just not looking good.” He added that all the counties surrounding Lake City have moved to Stage 2 Fire Restrictions and a majority of surrounding communities have cancelled fireworks shows.
Acknowledging that the children and others will, no doubt, be disappointed by the lack of fireworks, “It just isn’t worth the risk.” Hagendorf stated that though profits to local businesses might be adversely affected due to the cancellation of the fireworks, “A bad fire could devastate our livelihood for a years to come.” He hopes that everyone can see that it is best to err on the side of caution especially in light of the high temps and extremely low humidity levels.
The massive 416 fire in the Durango/ Silverton area threatened homes and forest for weeks, and
smoke from the blaze settling in Lake City has been a constant reminder of the risks of standing forests of beetle-kill trees in combination with sustained drought conditions. The big celebration however, will continue under the stars with a street dance and live music on Silver Street adjacent to the Town Park.
According to Hagendorf, who has been the Lake City Fire Marshal since 2013, the Forest Service has deemed the area at Very High Risk. He added that after checking the fuel moisture levels here just yesterday, the USFS Field Manager noted that our risk is much closer to extreme.
“Everyone is on high alert this summer,” Hagendorf noted. “Creede and Telluride have also cancelled their fireworks.” He added that Stage 1 Fire Restrictions are currently in effect and strictly preclude any type of fireworks, sparklers and even target practice.
He noted that in a recent conversation with Hinsdale County Sheriff Ron Bruce, he was assured, “There will be zero tolerance for personal fireworks of any kind.”
Lake City Fire Department currently has 12 volunteers on their team, and “the door is always open for more,” said Hagendorf. “Our fireworks are 100 percent funded by donations,” stated Hagendorf. “I want people to know that all donations which they have contributed toward the 4th of July Fireworks display will be rolled over for next year.”