Alamosa bans fireworks sales in city

ALAMOSA — Following up on a ban for using fireworks in the city limits, the Alamosa city council last night also passed a ban on selling them.

No fireworks sales will be allowed in the city limits this summer due to the dry conditions creating greater fire danger this season. The Fourth of July public fireworks display may be postponed, but that decision has not yet been made.

The fireworks sales prohibition is in effect immediately and through September 1 of this year. The city council took action through an emergency ordinance Wednesday night due to the dry conditions and to give retailers and vendors time to plan ahead.

Providing an introduction for the ordinance, Alamosa City Manager Heather Brooks reminded the council of the extreme drought conditions in the San Luis Valley and that Alamosa Fire Chief Don Chapman had already issued a ban on the use of fireworks, effective on Monday, June 4 and remaining in effect until further notice. Brooks said the chief does not have the authority to prohibit the sale of fireworks, however.

“We need to move quickly,” she said.

She added that it would be easier to enforce the fireworks use ban if there are no fireworks for sale locally. She said staff already contacted vendors who normally carry fireworks to let them know the prohibition was coming. The vendor who sets up a big tent in town has been notified and had not yet obtained a license.

The fireworks sales and use bans prohibit all types of fireworks including sparkers.

Councilman Charles Griego said the city needs to coordinate with the county so sales will not be allowed there either. Brooks said the county officials are also serious about curbing fire danger. Alamosa County is already under Stage 1 fire restrictions, which prohibit the use of fireworks and ban open fires.

Councilman Jan Vigil asked about the public fireworks display held on the evening of the Fourth of July. Brooks said at this point it is unclear whether or not that will go forward or be postponed, as it has been in the past in times of fire danger.

Councilman David Broyles said it would be incongruent if the city enacted a fireworks ban and went ahead with the July 4th display.

“We are trying to play it by ear,” Brooks said. She said the public display is different and more controlled than a lot of individuals shooting off fireworks all over the city, “but if there’s any risk the chief is going to have that display postponed.”

Fire restrictions are in place throughout the San Luis Valley due to the dry conditions. The Rio Grande National Forest and Bureau of Land Management are also under Stage 1 fire restrictions, which prohibit:

1. All open fires, campfires, charcoal-fueled fires, or coal or wood burning stove fires unless in an established fire grate in a developed campground. Petroleum-fueled stoves, lanterns or heating devices are allowed.

2. Smoking, unless within an enclosed vehicle or building, in a developed recreation site or while stopped in an area at least 3 feet in diameter that is barren or cleared of all flammable material.

3. Operating a chainsaw without a USDA or SAE approved spark arrestor properly installed, a chemical pressurized fire extinguisher with a minimum rating of 2A kept with the operator, and one round point shovel with an overall length of at least 35 inches.

4. Welding, or operating an acetylene or other torch with an open flame except when in a cleared area of at least 10 feet in diameter and in possession of a chemical pressurized fire extinguisher with a minimum rating of at least 2A.

Fireworks are not permitted on federal lands.