LOUISVILLE — All along the Front Range, Colorado cities are preparing for Fourth of July fireworks celebrations Monday night. For those who live in the areas impacted by the Marshall Fire, the shows come with mixed feelings.
Those with the City of Louisville decided to proceed with their annual fireworks at the Coal Creek Golf Course. The show takes place across the street from the Coal Creek Ranch subdivision, which was destroyed in the Marshall Fire.
“I know a lot of people think it's in bad taste, because fireworks can set off a fire," said Adam Sloat, who's home burned in the Coal Creek Ranch neighborhood. "I'm not worried about that, because it's in a controlled environment. They know where it lands. It’s done by professionals.”
Sloat says he is more concerned about individuals setting off illegal fireworks.
“There's always two sides to things, but I think it's going to be healing for some. For others, it's going to be tough," Sloat said.
The fireworks in Louisville have been happening for decades, and the pyrotechnician behind it spends around a month prepping for a show that lasts about 15 minutes. Richard Ross says every fireworks show is like a work of art, and he has heard people will camp out in their lots in the Coal Creek Ranch neighborhood to watch this year.
“We had four meetings with the City of Louisville, the police department, the fire department. When we had those meetings, they decided to keep those areas open because they had some people saying, you know, "Why? Why can't we enjoy the show from our properties?"" Ross explained. “It's a positive note for people that have lost everything they ever had.”
Chief John Willson of the Louisville Fire Protection District says they will have extra crews working the night of the show. However, he says these shows were operated safely long before the Marshall Fire.
“The golf course does a great job of watering everything down a few days beforehand. And they'll turn their sprinklers on after the show is done, like around midnight tonight," Willson said. “There's a lot of items that we look at. How dry are the fuels? How windy is it? How far away from homes are the explosions going to occur? What kind of debris is going to fall down on this area?"
Those with the City of Louisville say they carefully consider this event every year. Some years, they have canceled the show if conditions did not support it. One reason they hold the professional show is to reduce the number of illegal private shows in the community.
We recognize that this is a difficult time for our residents. Some find comfort in tradition, watching fireworks as they always have, at the golf course, with their community. Others may want to join us for the afternoon’s activities and spend the evening quietly, away from the fireworks display. We respect the diverse needs of our community members at this time.
The city scaled back the fireworks display this year to focus on the community experience leading up to the show. The total cost of the event is $25,000, and $10,000 was spent on the fireworks specifically. The American Legion donates additional money, as well as volunteering their time to help set up the show.