DENVER (KDVR) — A team of scientists signed a letter imploring Americans in the western U.S. to pause their fireworks celebrations this Independence Day. Record heat doesn’t mix with a day of the year that accounts for the vast majority of wildfires, they say. Colorado is already ahead of the curve.
Colorado law bans fireworks that explode or launch into the air. Virtually all cities along the Front Range, including Arvada, Brighton, Broomfield, Colorado Springs, Denver, Fort Collins, Golden, Greeley, Lakewood, Littleton, Loveland, Pueblo, Parker, Thornton, Westminster and Wheat Ridge have their own city-level bans.
In 2021, the Denver Police Department had the lowest number of calls for service since 2017. Nationally, fireworks-related fires have been on the downslope for the last 20 years, but the number has been going back up since 2015.
Fireworks-related fires peaked in 1986, with 52,100. They dropped consistently before a rise at the turn of the century, then dropped again until 2014 when they started a slow rise.
They have been ticking back up in the late 2010s. There were 19,500 fireworks-related fires in 2018, according to records from the National Fire Protection Agency. In 2014, there were only 14,000.
With the increase in firework-related fires has come an increase in injuries. There were nearly 8,000 fireworks-related visits to emergency departments in 2017, up from 4,270 in 2012.