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Pray for rain, and fireworks

J.K. Perry
Preston Utley/Daily file photo

EAGLE COUNTY ” A rain dance might be necessary if valley residents expect to see fireworks bursting in the valley’s skies next week.

Hot, dry weather that has driven up the risk of wildfires also means town officials and local fire chiefs are watching for rain and wind before allowing any fireworks to go off. Avon is the only town with solid plans to shoot fireworks because its display takes place over Nottingham Lake.

Vail officials plan to make a final decision Monday, the day before their fireworks display over Golden Peak.

“It will be based on whether we get significant rain over the next (six to seven) days,” Vail fire Chief John Gulick said. “The forecast doesn’t look good. It doesn’t look like it’s going to rain.”

Indeed, the coming week seems devoid of the precipitation needed to moisten parched grass and brush.

“The outlook for significant wetting rains doesn’t look all that great,” said Norv Larson, meteorologist for the National Weather Service. “In terms of a widespread, moist event over a large area, it’s a stretch.”

Minturn’s display is scheduled for Sunday. Fire and town officials plan to make a decision today whether to go ahead with fireworks at Lionshead rock, said Charlie Moore, chief of the Eagle River Fire Protection District.

“Embers in forested land can lead to fires that can get out of control,” Moore said.

Minturn resident Kristi Bloodworth said she’ll understand if the fireworks have to be canceled.

“My backyard overlooks them so we usually have people over, but if it’s going to burn down the town I don’t mind,” Bloodworth said. “The fireworks are fun in Minturn, but that hillside is covered in brush and it’d be very easy to go up.”

Beaver Creek blasts off Tuesday. Moore said he also plans to make a go or no go decision along with the resort today. The resort could soak the ground below the fireworks with snow-making guns, Moore said.

Eagle and Gypsum put on a show jointly at the Eagle County Fairgrounds on Tuesday. Jon Asper, chief of Greater Eagle Fire Protection District, said he plans to mow grass and saturate the grounds to avoid a fire.

But Asper said he is concerned wind might push fireworks into dry land and start a fire, so he’ll make a decision on Friday or Saturday.

“I prefer no wind,” Asper said, adding he didn’t know how little wind is needed to shoot off fireworks safely.

Although prevailing winds don’t look strong in the coming week, expected thunderstorms could create gusty winds, Larson said.

For fireworks displays to get the go ahead, a bit of supernatural help might be in order.

“Ask your readers to pray for rain,” Moore said.

Staff Writer J.K. Perry can be reached at 748-2928 or jkperry@vaildaily.com.

Vail, Colorado


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