Fireworks and fun, but safety is number 1 | CraigDailyPress.com

Fireworks and fun, but safety is number 1

Patrick Kelly

An explosion of light illuminates the night sky and celebrates the independence of the United States during the 2014 Fourth of July festivities in Craig. This year's events include the downtown parade, community picnic, fireworks and more.

The Fourth of July is a day for gathering with friends, family and fellow Americans to celebrate our nation's independence — we grill, camp and watch celebratory fireworks, enjoying the amenities our home has to offer.

This year, there's plenty to see and do in Craig, with a parade at 11 a.m. Saturday, followed by a community barbecue and a fireworks show at dusk at Moffat County High School.

The weekend lends plenty of room for fun, but while partaking in Independence Day revelry, it is important to keep in mind proper firework safety and wildfire prevention, advise law enforcement officials.

Craig Police Department and Moffat County Sheriff's Office remind citizens fireworks aren't only capable of causing injury — they also start fires.

According to a joint news release from the two agencies, "Violators will be prosecuted and can be held responsible for any costs to fight fires that they start."

The use of illegal fireworks is also on their list of concerns this holiday weekend.

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By Colorado law, fireworks that explode or leave the ground cannot be purchased for personal use. Examples of illegal fireworks include bottle rockets, mortars, roman candles, firecrackers and cherry bombs.

Craig Fire/Rescue Battalion Chief Troy Hampton said even with legal fireworks, children should have supervision while using them.

Fortunately, Craig residents have the option of being treated to a firework extravaganza by Craig Fire/Rescue, Craig City Council and Moffat County Commission.

A team of roughly 16 firefighters will set up a fireworks display Saturday around dusk, said Hampton. The show will last for about 45 minutes at MCHS but can be seen throughout town.

Craig City Council and Moffat County Commissioners provided $2,500 each to fund the show with an additional $500 coming from Craig Fire/Rescue and $2,200 left over community firework fundraising effort last year.

In addition to their $500 contribution, Craig Fire/Rescues also donates the man hours necessary to conduct the firework display.

The holiday weekend also is a popular time to camp or leave town.

For residents who will be leaving Craig, practicing proper wildfire prevention is crucial, said Lynn Barclay, public information officer for Northwest Colorado Fire Management Unit.

"One less spark, one less wildfire," she said. "That's everybody's responsibilities."

According to the website for the Bureau of Land Management's White Snake

Field Office, updated Wednesday, the fire danger in Moffat County is currently high.

Barclay said anyone using fire outdoors, whether it is a campfire, grill or fireworks, needs to be mindful of current weather conditions — especially wind.

Even the heat of a car's exhaust can start a wildfire when driving through tall grass, she said.

For campers, extinguishing a fire properly means making "campfire soup."

"You douse it with water, cool it down, smother it with dirt, stir it up and do it again," Barclay said. "You need to do that until it's cool to the touch."

With all these tips in mind, everyone is encouraged to have a safe and happy Fourth of July.

Reach Patrick Kelly at 970-875-1790 or pkelly@CraigDailyPress.com.

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