AURORA | This year’s Fourth of July could be a little louder and brighter in Aurora.
City Council earlier this year lifted the city’s ban on fireworks and opted to allow a few — primarily sparklers, fountains and others that don’t explode or shoot into the air.
The change also will allow fireworks stands to operate for the first time within the city, and already Aurora has received nine applications to open stands this summer, according to Trevor Vaughn, manager of the city’s tax and licensing division.
If the applications are approved, the stands will be allowed to operate from June 15 until July 4, according to the application.
Across all of unincorporated Arapahoe County last year there were nine fireworks stands.
For Aurora fire officials, who team with Aurora police around July 4 to crackdown on illegal fireworks, the new rules won’t mean a softer crackdown, said Lt. Tony Krenz, a spokesman for the department.
“We’re still going to be out there looking for illegal fireworks,” Krenz said.
The fine for illegal fireworks can be as much as $2,650, he said.
Last year, fireworks caused 20 fires over the Fourth of July weekend and the department wrote 23 summonses for illegal fireworks, according to the department’s statistics.
Krenz said, if July 4 revelers want to use legal fireworks, they should be careful not to light them near dry vegetation or bushes, and to have a bucket of water or garden hose handy in case they need to douse them.
Council’s decision to lift the city’s ban was met with little disagreement when Councilwoman Francoise Bergan introduced it last year with the extra enticement of possible financial gains within the city.
Even the one Public Safety Committee member who had reservations — committee chairwoman Barb Cleland — admitted there was some advantages to lifting the ban.
At the same October 2016 committee meeting, she speculated that lifting the ban could help prevent people from burning fireworks in private, where they could cause a more serious fire risk.
Which is why even fire officials backed the plan, saying they hope it means more people will do light fireworks in an open and safer manner.
Plus, officials said lifting the ban would also make Aurora uniform with other jurisdictions, limiting the confusion that bedeviled many city revelers.
Under the old rules, it was legal to buy fireworks at several stands in unincorporated Arapahoe County — many of which sit just outside the Aurora line — but illegal for people to bring those legally purchased fireworks into Aurora.
The new rules also give the city a few opt outs. Even if the county sheriff has not instituted a fire ban, the city may do so at any time under the new rules — and that ban would bar the sale or use of fireworks.
Aurora’s decision follows a similar move by the city of Centennial, which legalized similar fireworks last year. Denver still bans all fireworks.
Proposed fireworks stands
The following are proposed locations for fireworks stands, which will be open in Aurora from June 15 to July 4:
•3301 Tower Rd.
•15200 E. Colfax Ave.
• 1200 S. Buckley Rd.
•6201 S. Aurora St.
•5650 S. Chambers Rd.
•18730 E. Hampden Ave.
• 15700 E. Briarwood Cir.
•14200 E. Alameda Ave.
• 14000 E. Exposition Ave.