Nederland fireworks postponed
After weeks of watching the mountain wildlands turn to tinder, without much hope for significant moisture in the next week, Nederland town officials, Fireworks organizers, Nederland law enforcement and fire personnel have agreed that going ahead with the annual Fourth of July Fireworks Display over Barker Reservoir would be too risky. This year’s display has been called off until it is deemed safe to shoot incendiary rockets over town and invite thousands of people to party in the ready to ignite wildlands.
It was not an easy decision. The Town of Nederland is famous throughout the Front Range for its spectacular fireworks display over the cool waters of the reservoir. People park along the highway and picnic in the grassy areas of the shore, usually bringing in their own supplies of sparklers and bottle rockets, cigarettes and charcoal broilers whether they are legal or not.
The slightest ember or burning ash could take out Big Springs.
With the safety of residents and homes in mind, Fourth of July Fireworks organizer Barbara Hardt and Town officials made the decision to call off the show early this week.
Hardt said, “I have been talking to a lot of people in town about the fireworks and have confirmed that most people are against having them for the Fourth of July, due to our extreme fire danger. I think the best thing we could do is to postpone them at this point and move them to July 28, depending on whether we have a lot of rain between now and then.”
July 28 is Miners’ Day weekend, which would be a perfect time to celebrate the country’s freedom as well as the Town’s historic legacy.
Hardt, who has been collecting donations for the fireworks display, said that current funding is at about half of the required amount. Traditionally, the last two weeks before the Fourth, there is a significant amount of donations. Hardt said she hopes people will continue to contribute to the fireworks, which will happen in safer conditions.
The City of Black Hawk is considering canceling its fireworks display which takes place on the hill over Bullwhackers Casino. Hardt said she takes responsibility for the postponement, knowing that residents and businesses will disappointed, but the decision was based on considering the better good for all.
“The current extremely dry condition of our forests and current fires burning in Colorado have created a situation where I feel uncomfortable moving forward with Fourth of July fireworks at this time. Due to the set up time required, I needed to make a decision before Tuesday, June 26. I have informed the professional pyrotechnic company that we will postpone the fireworks until a later date.
For more information or to speak to me personally, contact me at 303-810-5409. The danger is far too great and I think this is the most “responsible” thing to do at this time.”
Nederland Police Department Chief Jake Adler concurs with Hardt and said not only will the fireworks display not go on, but law enforcement officers will take a hard line for anyone lighting any private fireworks of any kind.
“We will not be issuing ‘warnings’ for private usage of fireworks by anyone,” Chief Adler said. “We have to take a hard line this year for obvious reasons. There is no “gray” area in regards to type or make of fireworks; in short, no means no, absolutely no exceptions. A mandatory summons or arrest, dependant on situation, will be given to anyone caught or found to be using fireworks anywhere in Nederland.”
The fireworks ban includes unincorporated Boulder County and Gilpin County.
Fuels and Fire Behavior Advisory
Nederland Fire Protection District
On Monday, June 25, a notice was sent to fire districts throughout Colorado and southern Wyoming advising them of the extreme fire behavior that is occurring across the Front Range. Drought condition and record temperatures have resulted in a loss of snowpack a month earlier than usual. There is minimal green-up at higher elevations. Although spring rains gave us short-term relief, the 1,000-hour fuels have returned to single-digit values.
There are enough fine fuels from last year to allow fires to spread quickly through meadows that appear green, but are actually dry. We have already experienced both wind-driven and plume-dominated large fire activity in the last few months. Destructive large fires are ensured in most cases.
High elevations are snow free and available to burn, filled with high fuel loadings due to blowdown and disease-infested stands. More than 90 percent of all acres burned in this area occur during the next three months. The fires will spread rapidly and have high resistance to control.
Monday’s announcement includes warnings to firefighters and the public.
Fuels will ignite easily and move rapidly. You can’t outrun it. Large acres will be consumed in a short period of time, but leave shrub components. Watch out for re-burn situations.
When the live fuel moisture values fall, flaming fronts will elongate, fires will burn with more intensity and fire behavior will become more extreme. Expect more long-range spotting.
There will be dependent and independent crown fires in insect infested pine stands. Areas of green-up will not serve as barriers as moisture content falls. Fuels, especially at elevations of 5,000 to 9,000, are expected to burn at 100 percent of their potential. Ponderosa Pine Live Fuel Moisture Content values are between 70 to 90 percent, lower than the typical values of 100 to 105 percent at this time of year.
The wildlands get drier every day that it doesn‘t rain.