A message about fireworks safety from Sheriff David Weaver
According to state law, the sale and use of “permissible fireworks” cannot be prohibited in unincorporated county areas, unless a special resolution is passed by the county government. As of press time, there were no fire restrictions in Douglas County, but that could change if the conditions are dangerously dry. Municipalities can be more restrictive within city boundaries, although the City of Castle Pines North (Resolution 08-17) maintains the same guidelines as unincorporated areas of the county.
What are permissible fireworks?
Cylindrical or cone fountains, wheel and ground spinners, illuminating torches and colored fire, dipped sticks and sparklers, toy propellant or toy smoke device, trick noise makers and snake or glow worms are all permissible.
Essentially, a good rule of thumb to go by is, fireworks that leave the ground or produce a loud bang are not considered permissible to use. A few examples may be cherry bombs, roman candles, firecrackers, bottle rockets, shells and rockets, M-80s and M-100s, and helicopters.
What is the law?
All fireworks other than those considered as permissible are considered illegal for use in Colorado.
Use of illegal fireworks in the unincorporated county areas is considered a class 3 misdemeanor and can be punished by a fine of up to $750 and/or imprisonment.
The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office (DCSO) and the fire departments that service the county have a stringent permit and inspection process for retail fireworks sales.
The primary objectives of this process are to ensure that the fireworks offered at the fireworks stands are legal under state statute; that the sales site is operated in compliance with the fire code; and that sales to juveniles do not occur.
The retail sales sites must also meet the requirements of the Douglas County building and zoning departments.
It is illegal for any person younger than sixteen years of age to purchase fireworks. Violation of this provision may be punishable by a fine of up to $750 and/or imprisonment. All use of fireworks by persons under the age of sixteen must be under direct adult supervision.
The fact that a firework is legal does not reduce the possibility of it starting a fire. In fact, permissible fireworks have caused several fires in the metro area in recent years. Individuals involved with a fire that results from fireworks either legal or illegal can be charged with arson. The DCSO urges everyone to be safe and smart this July 4!
What does Sheriff Weaver suggest?
The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office recommends that you “leave fireworks alone and see a professional display.” If you must use fireworks, we offer the following suggestions to make your Fourth of July holiday safer…
Use the 911 system for true emergencies and not for fireworks complaints. Use the non-emergency phone number (303-660-7500) to report fireworks complaints and to avoid overloading the 911 system potentially delaying response for true emergencies.
Do not allow young children to play with fireworks under any circumstances. Sparklers considered by many the ideal “safe” firework for the young, burn at very high temperatures and can easily ignite clothing. Children cannot understand the danger involved and cannot act appropriately in case of emergency.
Older children should only be permitted to use fireworks under close adult supervision. Do not allow any running or horseplay. Light fireworks outdoors in a clear area away from houses, dry leaves or grass and flammable materials.
Keep a bucket of water nearby for emergencies and for fireworks that don’t go off.
Do not try to relight or handle malfunctioning fireworks. Douse and soak them with water and throw them away.
Be sure other people are out of range before lighting fireworks.
Do not dispose of used fireworks in a combustible container.
Ensure that fireworks are completely extinguished by soaking them in water prior to disposal.