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Minturn fireworks site isn’t safe

Charles Moore, Fire Chief
Eagle River Fire Protection District

I want to let the citizens of Minturn know that I enjoy July 4th fireworks as much as anyone. But I also want them to know that a pyrotechnic display has the power to injure and kill people, let alone precipitate a catastrophic fire. These circumstances require fire officials to make the correct decision ” and I do not make this decision arbitrarily; my staff and I carefully deliberate the risk and consulted with Minturn town staff, just as we do in Avon and Beaver Creek. The venues in Beaver Creek and Avon provide easy access, water and sufficient clearance from dry vegetation. Minturn’s current location has none of that.

The steep terrain, difficult access and dry vegetation at the Minturn site create substantial risk to life and for an accidental and uncontrolled fire, regardless of the historical anecdotes of citizens quoted in Steve Lynn’s article. Years ago, I stood on the hill as one of the firefighters for this display and suppressed a fire that nearly burned over the top of me and into the unexploded shells. That kind of event could end someone’s life. The men and women of Eagle River Fire District will assume great personal risk to protect the lives and property of our citizens but I decline to voluntarily take that amount of risk for the sake of entertainment.

This district will respond with all necessary resources to any community and any incident that requires them. There have been statements that suggest otherwise, and they are completely false.

I appreciate the sense of community that July 4th celebrations offer. I trust that each citizen in the Eagle River Fire Protection District can appreciate that a wrong decision can be catastrophic. We will continue to work with the town of Minturn Staff and support any alternative that allows all Minturn citizens to safely celebrate the day as a community.


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