Fireworks and Burn Ban Information for the 2016 Fourth of July Holiday

June 29, 2016

We would like to wish every citizen in El Paso County a safe and happy Fourth of July. Hopefully this holiday will pass without any serious injuries or incidents tainting its enjoyment.  Since fireworks are traditionally a major part of our Independence Day celebrations the following information is intended to help clarify which fireworks are legal and illegal in El Paso County.

If a firework is not classified as “permissible” then it is illegal to use, possess or sell.  A good rule of thumb to remember is if a firework flies through the air, explodes or shoots flaming balls, it is illegal.

Illegal fireworks include:

• Bottle rockets

• Firecrackers of any type

• Mortars

• Roman candles

Permissible fireworks include:

• Fountains

• Ground spinners

• Smoke Bombs

• Sparklers

Fireworks should not be confused with “trick noise makers.”  Trick noise makers are not classified as fireworks, and are not prohibited by the fireworks statutes.  Trick noise makers are frequently sold at fireworks stands, but are also sold at many grocery stores, including inside our local municipalities.  These items will bear a label that states they are trick noise makers.  They function by throwing them on the ground or by pulling a string. Trick noise makers include:

• Snaps (small paper wads that are thrown on the ground)

• Champagne poppers (pull string and they launch colored paper)

• Pull string poppers (small 2” paper tube with a string from each end)

Both unlawful fireworks, as well as permissible fireworks are prohibited in County Parks and the incorporated cities to include Colorado Springs, Monument, Fountain, Manitou Springs, and all of Teller County.

We would like to remind our community that the Front Range and those areas such as highway 115 and eastern El Paso County are very susceptible to fires.  Please be cautious when celebrating with fireworks as you enjoy this Fourth of July holiday.

Burn Ban Information

In January of 2015, the County adopted an updated Open Burning Ordnance 15-001. In addition to the State enacting open burning restrictions, this ordinance allows for restrictions on all open fires and open burning within the unincorporated areas of the county to include restrictions on the use of fireworks during Stage one and Stage two fire restrictions and during red flag days.

A Red Flag Warning means high fire danger with increased probability of a quickly spreading fire in the area within 24 hours. 

Stage 1 Fire Restrictions that are in effect during periods of high to extreme fire danger are:

• No open fires EXCEPT in developed campgrounds or picnic areas

• No torches with an open flame

• No operation of any internal or external combustion engine without a spark arresting device, properly installed, maintained and in effective working order

• Petroleum-fueled stoves, lanterns and heating devices are permitted only if they meet fire underwriter’s safety specifications

• Smoking only permitted in an enclosed vehicle or building, or while stopped in an area of at least 3’ in diameter that is clear of all flammable materials

Exceptions include:

• Owners/leasers of residences may have fires within the home

• Persons with a special permit specifically authorizing their behavior

Stage 2 Fire Restrictions are that in effect during periods of high to extreme fire danger includes:

• No open fires of any kind including campfires, stove fires, heaters or torches

• No operation of any internal or external combustion engine without a spark arresting device, properly installed, maintained and in effective working order

• Smoking only permitted in an enclosed vehicle or building, or while stopped in an area at least 3’ in diameter that is clear of all flammable materials

Restrictions:

• Owners/leasers of residences may have fires within the home

• Persons with a special permit specifically authorizing their behavior

There are currently no fire restrictions in effect but please be aware these can change from day to day and it is your responsibility to keep abreast of these changing conditions.

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