Extreme fire danger and sensitivity to those who have lost homes and other property in Colorado wildfires will result in the substitution of a laser light show in place of the annual July 4 fireworks display at Memorial Park.
Long a tradition, the fireworks were the culmination of the daylong celebration, following a performance of patriotic songs by the Colorado Springs Symphony Orchestra. This year the event concludes with the light show by Tucson, Arizona-based Dunn Entertainment.
A citywide ban exists, and those who take the matter lightly will find their wallets lightened considerably.
Local authorities will strictly enforce the fireworks ban and violations will result in fines and court appearances, Colorado Springs fire and police officials said.
“If you play with fire you will definitely get burned,” Police Chief Lou Velez told reporters at a news conference outlining plans officials have to patrol the city for illegal fireworks.
Violators will face a $500 fine and a mandatory court appearance, Velez said. Additionally, smokers who believe the world is their ashtray will pay for tossing cigarettes or ashes from vehicle windows.
“The biggest public safety issue at this point in time is the threat of fire,” Velez added.
Members of the city fire department, sheriff’s department, and the County Attorney’s office joined Velez.
Assistant District Attorney Dan May said judges will take infractions very seriously, and that offenders will not get off with a warning. Indeed, there will be no warnings, officials said.
Previous violations usually resulted in confiscation of the fireworks and a reprimand to the perpetrators. Not this year.
In fact, police, the fire department, and the sheriff’s department will be patrolling the city in search of violators.
City staff members also demonstrated other ways to celebrate Independence Day, ranging from plastic clappers that emit colored confetti, to colored lights to balls that light up when bounced.
Earlier this month, Governor Bill Owens banned the sale of fireworks. The Air Force Academy has also cancelled its annual fireworks display. Prior to the Business Journal’s deadline, only the Colorado Springs Sky Sox fireworks display remained intact.