The city of Durango canceled its Fourth of July fireworks show because of continuing wildfire risk.
The city had already canceled its parade because of coronavirus concerns, but the fireworks were considered a go as long as fire conditions would permit the show. But in the last couple of weeks, four sizable wildfires have broken out in the region as a result of dry conditions, and no moisture is in the immediate forecast.
Both the Durango Fire Protection District and city staff said a fireworks show is too risky.
“I really feel strongly that it would be quite a poor idea for us to continue with the plan to do fireworks this year,” said Hal Doughty, Durango fire chief, during the city’s 12th update video. “We’ve recommended that we do not do the city of Durango fireworks.”
The city of Durango has banned all fires within city limits, except outdoor charcoal, wood-fired or propane grills, and ovens or smokers on private property. La Plata County and the San Juan National Forest have issued Stage 1 fire restrictions, which are set to continue.
Under Forest Service restrictions, people are prohibited from igniting, building, maintaining, attending or using a fire, including charcoal grills and barbecues, coal and wood-burning stoves and sheepherder’s stoves. Smoking is also banned, except within an enclosed vehicle, trailer or building.
“We’re still really, really concerned about the dry conditions that we’re facing,” Doughty said.
Amber Blake, Durango interim city manager, said the city staff was strongly in favor of canceling the fireworks.
“It’s great to have the support of the fire district behind that decision,” Blake said. “It is in our best interest, with both fire danger and a pandemic this year, for us to make sure that we do everything that we can to protect ourselves from potential fire danger.”