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Law enforcement talks fireworks threat, restrictions going into holiday weekend

Posted at 6:50 PM, Jul 03, 2020

EL PASO COUNTY — Despite Friday's afternoon storms drought conditions are back and the fire danger is high as a lot of people are already celebrating the holiday weekend with fireworks.

A reminder - restrictions are in place across the Pikes Peak region. On Friday morning, News 5 spoke with local law enforcement on their warnings.

"We want you to have a great holiday, but we also want safety concerns in mind," said Sergeant Deborah Mynatt with the El Paso County Sheriff's Office.

There's a ban on the sale and use of fireworks in a lot of counties across the state and that's because not only is it fire season, but the weather has been extremely hot and dry for several weeks.

In regards to the holiday weekend Mynatt said, "It's a celebratory holiday and it's something to celebrate with our neighbors, with our friends and family."

But celebrating the Fourth of July this year does have its restrictions. Mynatt shared that unincorporated El Paso County is under Stage 1 Fire Restrictions. In those areas, including the City of Colorado Springs, any firework, even a sparkler, is illegal.

In urban areas Mynatt said, "Houses are so close by. If one sparks it can just be completely devastating to a neighborhood."

As for rural areas she said, "There are neighbors that are close by, but there's also a lot of livestock. There's a lot of animals, there's a lot of property, and there's grass, dry, dry grass."

Based on the number of calls the sheriff's office is getting on reports of fireworks it's clear that there's a lot of people who aren't following the rules. Mynatt said during the month of June there were "approximately 40 calls for service the year prior and then this year it went up to approximately 80 calls for service...if we do come across someone who is selling, using, or possessing any of those illegal fireworks they could face up to a $750 fine and/or up to six months of imprisonment."

She shared that so far a lot of people doing this have just received a warning.

She said, "We just want people to have a good holiday in a safe way."

We're told the fireworks fine within the City of Colorado Springs is up to $2,500.

Besides no fireworks there's also no open burning so if you choose to barbecue or have an outdoor fire at your home it has to very controlled and surrounded by permanent barriers.

If you do want to report illegal fireworks please don't call 911. Instead, use the non-emergency lines for law enforcement.