AURORA | Aurora police officers and firefighters cracking down on illegal fireworks were plenty busy over the Fourth of July weekend.
According to fire department statistics, fireworks caused 20 fires over the weekend and the department wrote 23 summonses for illegal fireworks.
Aurora fire Lt. Lore Bridges said that while the police officers and firefighters were busy, it wasn’t anything out of the ordinary for the holiday weekend.
“It didn’t seem any more busy than in years in prior,” she said. “It’s just always busy.”
All fireworks are illegal inside the Aurora city limits, but they were allowed over the holiday weekend in unincorporated Arapahoe County and Centennial. Nine licensed fireworks shops in Arapahoe County sold fireworks this year, including several just a few blocks from the Aurora city line.
As of this week, all fireworks are illegal countywide though. Arapahoe County Sheriff Dave Walcher announced Tuesday that because of the fire danger, he has enacted a burn ban across the unincorporated part of the county.
That ban covers not just fireworks, but campfires at Cherry Creek State Park as well.
“The existing conditions in Arapahoe County present an extreme danger for the possibility of wildfire and large wildland fires,” a statement from the sheriff’s office said.
Bridges said that in Aurora the 20 fires sparked by fireworks were largely limited to grasslands and trees.
But one, which started July 5, damaged two homes, Bridges said.
That fire, at 2521 S. Carson Way, started at one home and spread to a neighboring house, she said. Five people were displaced as a result but nobody was seriously hurt.
The fire department responded to more than 800 calls to 911 reporting fireworks, Bridges said, and issued more than 200 warnings.
In just 23 of those cases police and firefighters wrote summonses, Bridges said. The number would likely have been higher but officers need someone to sign a complaint if they are going to issue a summons, and neighbors often don’t want to do that.
Still, in each of those contacts officers and firefighters seized the fireworks, whether they were the sort of fireworks that could be bought legally in unincorporated Arapahoe County or the sort of fireworks that explode or shoot in the air and are illegal statewide.
Bridges said the department might get a few more calls about fireworks over the rest of the summer, but she expects few people will light them after the holiday weekend.
“They really stand out when they are by themselves,” she said.