TELLURIDE, Colo. – People hoping to catch the 4th of July fireworks show in one of the most beautiful mountain towns of southwestern Colorado will have to travel elsewhere this year – and you can thank Mother Nature for that.
On Tuesday, officials with the Telluride Fire Protection District said the patriotic display of lights over Telluride’s Town Park was canceled due to “one of the most severe droughts seen in decades.”
Deputy Chief David Wadly, who organizes the event each year, said that even though rain over the weekend provided temporary relief for the area, the moisture levels weren’t nearly enough to move forward with the plans to host the even at the town this year.
“We spoke with the US Forest Service, the Division of Fire Prevention and Control as well as the regional weather forecasters, and we did not see a significant enough change in the forecasted weather pattern by July 4th that would put us in a safe enough environment to move forward with the show,” Wadley said.
Just last week, the Town of Telluride unanimously imposed a ban on open fires and fireworks during a June 12 Town Council meeting.
That came just eight days after the San Miguel County Sheriff had implemented Stage 2 Fire Restrictions, which has virtually banned all open fires and has made smoking a restricted activity across the town.
The ordinance stipulates that “no fireworks shall be sold, displayed for sale, used or lit within the Town unless and until the fire ban is lifted.” Doing so could cost transgressors $500.
Wadley said firefighters will still put on their annual 4th of July barbeque in Town Park following the annual parade to help support nonprofits in the area.
San Miguel County, where the Town of Telluride is located, is just one of six counties in southwest Colorado experiencing “exceptional drought,” – the most severe category handed out by the U.S. Drought Monitor.