Fire danger in Colorado has major impact on fireworks business | News
Wildfire fears mean traditional Fourth of July festivities are a bust. You’ll find the usual barbeques, parades and concerts.
But forget fireworks.
Dozens of cities canceling their annual shows.
And a statewide fireworks ban means families can’t use them at home either.
“For us, it’s always let’s barbeque. Then, the excitement to wait at night and see all the fireworks,” says one Denver customer, who didn’t want to give her name.
But a statewide fire ban means sales are fizzling at fireworks stores.
“It’s just been real quiet. Skeleton crew. We normally have people in here wall-to-wall,” says Pyro City Fireworks’ general manager Ryan Wallace.
Pyro City overflows with fireworks which people aren’t buying.
Sales are down 75 to 90 percent.
A far cry from last year.
“It was packed. There was a line out the door. We had to park two blocks away,” says the unidentified customer.
“People are scared. It’s the Fourth of July, we’re celebrating our freedom and everybody is scared. The cops are on patrol chasing people for using sparklers,” says Wallace.
And down the street, Olde Glory Fireworks says it normally hires 225 people over the Fourth.
This year, it’s just 20.
“It’s definitely a damper on it, you know. Takes the fun out of it. You’re worried about getting a ticket,” says Jeremiah of Northglenn.
But he says he’ll take his chances.
“I’m buying everything that don’t shoot up. I don’t think they’ll have a problem with me,” he says.
Fireworks businesses feel the ban is unfair–especially since fireworks haven’t started any of the current wildfires.
“Governor exempted camp stoves from state fire ban but the Hewlett Gulch fire was started by a camp stove. Everybody goes after the fireworks industry. We have nothing to do with wildfires,” says Wallace.
Customers agree it will be a strange fourth–where the only lights they may see in the sky–are stars.
“There’s really no sense in going against the law. If they put a ban on it, there’s nothing we can do. It sucks,” says Nicole of Aurora.
She says her family just bought poppers—which are legal—because you don’t have to ignite them. Any fireworks you have to take a lighter or match to are illegal.
Police and firefighters across the state say they’ll have zero-tolerance for fireworks. It means fines ranging up to $1,000 and 180 days in jail.
Some areas like Jefferson County have even set up a fireworks hotline to rat out neighbors.
So far, the warnings seem to be working. We’re told those calls are few and far between.
There are also fireworks shows in 13 towns and cities across Colorado, including two in Denver at Elitch Gardens and Sports Authority Field.