FAHRENHEIT FOUR-FIFTY-NONE: Aurora edict snuffs firework use and sales this year

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A fully stocked fireworks stand sits in Parker, while erected tents in Aurora, meant for the sale of fireworks currently sit empty, as a result of ta 2018 ban on the sale and use of fireworks. City fire officials have banned fireworks again this year, citing dry conditions.
Photo by Philip B. Poston/The Sentinel

AURORA | Aurora fire officials have instituted a burn ban in the city until further notice, jeopardizing the sale of certain fireworks next month and triggering the refund of thousands of dollars in vendor application fees.

Officials with Aurora Fire Rescue on Tuesday announced the stage one burn restrictions in the state’s third-largest city, citing an increasingly dry climate as the primary cause.

“The goal of these restrictions is to prevent both structural and wild land interface fires in the community,” officials wrote in a news release. “This approach is not unique, as approximately 30 communities within the state of Colorado have issued some level of fire ban or restrictions.”

The ban nixes the use of all fireworks in Aurora, only some of which are permissible to sell within city limits from June 15 through July 4. Aurora City Council lifted a longtime ban on the sale of ground-bound fireworks in June 2017.

The newly enacted fire ban still permits residents to operate charcoal grills, gas grills and certain legal fire pits.

Anyone found in violation of the fire ban could be slapped with a fine of up to $2,650 and a jail sentence of up to one year.

Last year, the city had 16 fireworks stands that paid $14,720 in licensing fees and generated $36,232 in sales tax revenue, according to Trevor Vaughn, manager of the city’s Tax and Licensing Division.

More than a dozen vendors had already applied to operate a stand in the city this year, each paying $940 in requisite licensing fees. The $12,220 the city has already collected from the vendors will now be refunded, Vaughn said.

Officials noted that June water bills that have already been sent to residents indicate that some fireworks are indeed legal in the city, but the documents were printed and mailed before the ban was put into effect.

The burn restrictions will remain in place until Fire Chief Fernando Gray rescinds them.