The city of Durango announced Friday that it is canceling the annual Fourth of July fireworks show because of fire risk.
The decision was made Thursday evening at a meeting between the city government, the Durango Fire Protection District and police department about the Lightner Creek Fire. The show has not been rescheduled yet.
Scot Davis of DFPD said that the issue had been on the radar for a couple weeks and became more urgent earlier this week when La Plata County announced Stage 1 fire restrictions.
“Honestly, it was fairly imminent,” Davis said. “We just needed a time to discuss.”
Several factors led to the postponement, Davis said. The Lightner Creek Fire has used the majority of the fire department’s resources, and the timeline for containment is uncertain. The department was also concerned with future weather patterns, as forecasts predict multiple hot, dry and windy days leading up to Tuesday.
“Certainly, we can’t be staffing fireworks with fire personnel and fire apparatus if we’re covering a major fire,” Davis said.
The street dance, which typically precedes the fireworks show, will run a little later and be the end of the city’s Fourth of July celebrations, community events supervisor Mike Kelly said.
The fireworks over Vallecito Dam on Saturday remain on schedule.
“There is no reason to cancel our show at this time unless something drastically changes,” said Mack Coker of the Upper Pine Fire Protection. “It is business as usual.”
Coker said the conditions around Vallecito Lake are ideal, as the grass around the lake is green compared with the drier areas in Durango.
“We would like to put on a controlled display at a controlled location and discourage everyone else from having their own personal displays,” Coker said. “That’s our approach.”
Silverton is also planning to host its fireworks show, said fire chief Gilbert Archuleta. This year’s Silverton show will feature more firepower than ever, he said. They’ll be using six each of 16-inch, 12-inch, 10-inch and 8-inch shells.
“The bigger shells are actually safer,” Archuleta said. “They go so far in the air that by the time they come down, they’re basically extinguished.”
Archuleta met with the fire department and the sheriff’s department Friday morning to discuss the possibility of postponement, but everyone agreed there wouldn’t be any problems. They were more concerned with individuals shooting their own fireworks, he said.
“We’re able to control our area pretty well and wet it down,” Archuleta said.
“Conditions up here aren’t nearly as dry as down below.”
The fireworks in Bayfield and Cortez will also continue as scheduled.