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Firework shows spark multiple spot fires in Douglas County

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Posted at 10:53 AM, Dec 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-19 20:14:55-05

DOUGLAS COUNTY, Colo. — Three separate permitted firework shows are being blamed for sparking multiple grass and spot fires in Douglas County Saturday.

No structures were lost, and no injuries were reported.

Grass and spot fires flared up in Highlands Ranch, Parker, and Castle Rock after a synchronized firework display, launched in those three areas, began around 7 p.m., according to South Metro Fire Rescue.

Spot fires in Highlands Ranch were reported soon after fireworks were launched at Rueter-Hess Reservoir and Griggs Road, but crews quickly had them under control. Flames came close to some structures in those fires, South Metro Fire said.

Spot fires near Parker burned a combined 6-8 acres before firefighters were able to extinguish them. And crews from the Castle Rock Fire Department were actively extinguishing spot fires in their jurisdiction during their fireworks display.

The firework shows were stopped after the spot fires were sparked.

The shows were granted permits by the fire agency and Douglas County officials gave the go-ahead for the displays, South Metro Fire said.

In a statement, a Douglas County official said the county worked closely with local fire departments during the production of the displays.

“The fireworks productions were designed and located working closely with our local fire departments who were on scene as planned this evening resulting in immediate responsiveness to the spot fires,” the statement read.

Despite these efforts, it’s unclear why the shows were allowed to continue amid dry and windy conditions. However, in a statement from the Board of Douglas County Commissioners released later Sunday, the board said they were aware of the dry conditions but did not foresee how windy it would get.

They said the use of fireworks comes with fire danger and they worked with local agencies to mitigate the risk.

“Large or small, the use of fireworks – whether by individuals in neighborhoods, or via a planned event by pyrotechnic professionals – come with fire danger. And, in the absence of fire restrictions, may be used responsibly and legally. Douglas County partnered with law enforcement officials and our fire departments to mitigate fire danger. Awareness of dry conditions, yet no wind.....we collaborated before, during and after the shows to mitigate risk. Locations were chosen accordingly. Crews were on scene during and after the shows. The spot fires that occurred were quicky contained. We credit South Metro Fire and Castle Rock Fire for their preparedness and responsiveness,” the statement read.