Steamboat City Council to discuss future of city’s July Fourth fireworks
With Routt County poised to enter summer in the exceptional drought phase and fire season expected to be active, Steamboat Springs City Council will discuss next week the future of the city’s Fourth of July fireworks.
Conditions leading to an above-normal, large fire potential, according to the Bureau of Land Management, are expected to continue in future years.
“These extremely dry conditions combined with unpredictable wind events could easily result in large, complex fires in our region that may move rapidly and in unpredictable ways,” Steamboat special projects/intergovernmental services manager Winnie DelliQuadri wrote in a report to council.
When these predicted conditions are combined with usual increase in demand on fire and emergency medical services resources throughout Routt County county, local fire response capabilities are limited, DelliQuadri said.
In addition to fire hazards, DelliQuadri offered several other concerns she and other staff members had with the city continuing its usual fireworks celebration, including training, equipment, payment and storage.
According to the city, the annual fireworks display takes about 10 staff and 22 or more volunteers. Because the fireworks have been canceled two out of every three years, DelliQuadri said it is extremely difficult to maintain trained and experienced staff and volunteers. It is also difficult, she said, to retain licensed fireworks operators.
Local resident Tim Borden typically provides all of the fireworks equipment. Borden is currently storing city-owned fireworks that have not been used. But as he will be ending that storage, the city would need to secure its own space.
Council, which is expected to discuss the topic at its regular meeting Tuesday, can choose to either no longer hold the fireworks display or contract it out for times when fire danger is minimal, which would be once every few years. City staff has recommended council choose not to continue planning or budgeting for the event but to instead focus time and resources on other Fourth of July events.
To reach Alison Berg, call 970-871-4229 or email aberg@SteamboatPilot.com.
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