Residents and visitors will have multiple firework shows and Fourth of July activities to choose from this week, a welcome change from last year, when most shows were canceled as a result of extreme fire danger and the 416 Fire.
Durango, Silverton and Bayfield will hold firework displays, while the Vallecito community will experience a “laser show” instead of traditional fireworks.
Durango will hold its show starting at dusk Thursday. Fireworks will be launched from Greenmount Cemetery, which is the standard location for the Durango show, said Karola Hanks, fire marshal for the Durango Fire Protection District. What is not standard for Durango is the size of shells it will use for part of its show. This year, technicians will be launching 8-inch shells.
Spectators will not be allowed in the cemetery, and there will be a safety zone of 1,000 feet from the launch site.
DFPD will launch 708 shells, with 260 being saved for the finale.
Hanks said the best places to view Durango’s fireworks include the Tech Center on U.S. Highway 160 in west Durango, Fort Lewis College, most of the downtown area and the Durango Dog Park.
Hanks reminded dog owners that many dogs are scared of fireworks.
Hanks said fires are always a concern with fireworks, but fire crews will be at the ready to deal with any problems.
Silverton will also hold its annual show, which was ranked as the seventh-best show nationwide about six years ago, said Gilbert Archuleta, chief of the Silverton-San Juan Fire and Rescue Authority.
The fire authority will launch about 1,800 shells in 25 to 27 minutes.
This year will include six 8-inch shells, six 10-inch shells, six 12-inch shells and six 16-inch shells. Shells will be fired every three-fourths of a second.
The launch site will be roped off for the community’s safety, Archuleta said.
Most anywhere in Silverton provides a good viewing location, he said.
According to Archuleta, it is one of the best firework displays in the state. He reminded viewers there will be a lot of traffic.
The show will start at 9:30 p.m. Thursday and be done by 10 p.m., he said. Those planning to attend should understand it will take 2½ to 3 hours to make it back to Durango because of traffic.
Bayfield will begin its firework show at dusk at Joe Stephenson Park.
The Vallecito Community Event Center will host a laser show set to music rather than a firework display after permits from the Bureau of Land Reclamation were not granted.
Lisa Bourque, a representative of the event, said many Western resort towns are moving toward having lasers instead of fireworks.
The 30-minute show will be held from 9 to 9:30 p.m. Wednesday in the meadow on the west side of the lake behind Highland Reality. Before the laser show, there will be food vendors and live music with The Wild Country Band starting at 6 p.m.
There will be limited parking, with the majority of the parking on the west side of the lake.