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Standing Fire Ban Lifted for 2024 Fireworks

Standing Fire Ban Lifted for 2024 Fireworks
Posted on 06/13/2024
A single sparkler illuminates an otherwise black background.

Fireworks that do not leave the ground or explode may be discharged and sold in the city of Aurora between June 15 and July 4 this year, announced Aurora Fire Rescue. The consent to use and sell fireworks in Aurora reflects AFR’s decision to temporarily lift the city’s standing Stage 1 Fire Restriction to allow for the sale and use of fireworks consistent with the city’s fireworks ordinance and Colorado state fireworks restrictions.

“None of the nationally recognized metrics we monitor to assess environmental fire risk in our community exceed thresholds requiring a fire ban,” said Aurora Fire Chief Alec Oughton. “We urge those in our community to take precautions to prevent injuries or fires if you choose to celebrate Independence Day with fireworks.”

More than 10,200 emergency room visits across the United States in 2022 were the result of fireworks-related injuries, with 73 percent of the visits occurring between June 17 and July 17 of that year, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. The Commission reports that sparklers were the second most common firework type to cause injuries among those reported, after firecrackers.

Additionally, the National Fire Protection Association estimates that 19,500 fires in the United States each year are caused by fireworks, with nearly 30 percent occurring on Independence Day.

View our fireworks education flyer for safety tips.

In Aurora, AFR responds to multiple incidents throughout the year and this time of year on fireworks-related medical emergencies, property damage and vegetation fire risk. One incident in the 17000 block of East Rice Circle in Aurora on July 3, 2023, resulted in a two-alarm structure fire at a townhome complex that caused significant damage to multiple units and injured a firefighter after fireworks were improperly disposed into a trash can and re-ignited. Earlier this year in February, AFR responded to an accidental death involving illegal fireworks that occurred at a dog park near Quincy Reservoir in south Aurora.

The Fire Marshal’s office within AFR determines and initiates fire restrictions for Aurora. Throughout the year, AFR maintains a Stage 1 Burn Restriction for Aurora, which imposes restrictions aimed at preventing the start of structural or wildland fires. AFR has the authority to adjust the burn ban between June 15 and July 4, when certain types of fireworks may be allowed in accordance with Aurora’s city ordinance, as conditions dictate.

The ordinance specifies permissible fireworks that may be discharged or sold in Aurora, and it restricts the sale and use of fireworks to the period between June 15 and July 4 only. Permissible and illegal fireworks are similar to the types that are allowed or restricted across Colorado. Possessing, using or discharging fireworks carries a minimum age restriction of 16 unless under the supervision of an adult over 21 years of age. The maximum possible penalty for a violation of the fireworks ordinance is a fine of up to $2,650 and/or up to one year in jail and other fees and costs as imposed by the court. The full text of the ordinance is available online at Aurora.Municipal.Codes/Code/66-34.

To determine whether a fire ban is needed, AFR uses three nationally recognized metrics provided by researchers and scientists at the University of Colorado. These metrics as of June 12 are:

-Fuel moisture per 100 feet: 12.3 (Figures below 12 indicate a fire ban is prudent.)
-Fuel moisture per 1,000 feet: 24.5 (Figures below 12 indicate a fire ban is prudent.)
-Energy release component: 38.4 (Figures above 70 indicate a fire ban is prudent.)

If all three of these metrics exceed the thresholds, a ban is issued after also considering in totality U.S. Drought Monitor index and factors such as weather, climate conditions, local and regional fire activity, emergency preparedness levels and resource availability.

In preparation for increased fire risks posed by fireworks in Aurora, AFR upstaffs its wildlands specialty crews the week of the July 4th holiday to increase response capacity and to proactively patrol the city. In partnership with the Aurora Police Department, Aurora’s Office of Emergency Management and other city departments, AFR also maintains a unified command center on the holiday. Additionally, AFR actively shares fireworks safety education through direct contact and the city’s communication channels.

To file a non-emergency fireworks complaint, visit Call 911 to report life-threatening emergencies.

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