Prowers County Drafting Fireworks/Fire Ban Ordinance

Governor Hickenlooper’s executive order from June 14, prohibiting open burning and private use of fireworks throughout Colorado, will not impact the municipal fireworks displays for Lamar Holly and Granada, according to Prowers County Sheriff, Jim Faull.  The sheriff and Staffon Warn, Prowers County Rural Fire Chief, discussed the order regarding the approaching holiday with the commissioners as well as agricultural applications of the governor’s ban.

“The local fire departments take exceptional care to make sure there are safeguards against any small fires breaking out from these local public displays,” he told the Prowers County Commissioners, Thursday, June 21.  But he added, “As far as the rest of the county is concerned, there will not be any fireworks of any kind allowed.  Nothing that burns or has to be lit will be allowed in the county.”  Despite the statewide ban, there are still fireworks for sale.  Faull added, “I can’t understand why they just didn’t take the extra step to prohibit sales of fireworks if they’re going to ban them in Colorado.  It’s beyond me!”  The governor’s ban also states that if a major fire breaks out from such an event, or even from weed control in irrigation ditches, the state can lend firefighting aid, but it will charge the municipality for the cost.

Faull is reviewing a county ordinance dealing with the ban of fires which will be considered by the commissioners at their Tuesday meeting, June 26.  The commissioners stated that they want to have local control over burn regulations. Counties have the ability of enacting stricter rules governing open fires than the state, but they cannot enact an ordinance that weakens the provisions set forth by the Governor.  The call for stronger measures is usually made when a community decides that a more restrictive ban is appropriate and warranted, given fire danger conditions in their areas.

The sheriff explained that trash pits and burn barrels are also prohibited right now.  He explained that farmers need to call the dispatch center even when they’re conducting an allowable burn, in part because their location must be put on the map for that particular day for fire department information.  The county ordinance will go into specific detail, regulating just what type and size of screen can be used for burn barrels and that they must always be attended when in use, or the size of an area that needs to be cleared of debris for outdoor welding jobs.

The county’s ordinance, which mirrors the one in effect in Otero and Pueblo Counties, will regulate fires year round, as well as have the ability to prohibit the sale of fireworks.  The sheriff’s department will also be able to cite those folks who are violating the new ordinance.  It will be in effect for the unincorporated areas of the county, according to Sheriff Faull.  County Attorney, John Lefferdink is expected to have the final draft ready for action by the commissioners on June 26.

By Russ Baldwin

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