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No time for fireworks

Posted: Friday, Jun 28th, 2013

As we approach July 4 I have been hearing a few murmurs of “Why are there no fireworks this year?”

Really? Why are there no fireworks this year? Has your head been buried in the sand for the past two months.

Well, let me get you up to speed…

The West Fork Complex Fire has burned to over 80,000 acres, it has consistently been too close to the towns of South Fork and Creede, and there seems to be no end in sight. It is the largest fire in the United States this year.

Colorado is burning up. The Colorado Springs area lost 500 homes to the Black Forest Fire, a year after losing over 300 in last year’s monster blaze. That same fire took two lives and cost millions of dollars to fight and will cost millions of dollars to recover from.

But, let’s bring this back to the San Luis Valley. The West Fork Fire has cost well over $2 million to fight. At this point only forested areas have been lost. Luckily, the fire has spared all structures to this point. But as noted before, this fire is far from being contained.

Another staggering number – 1,300 – happens to be the approximate number of people fighting this fire. Many of the fire fighters come from South Fork, Creede, Alamosa, Monte Vista, Del Norte – all over the Valley. These are the people, that if it were feasible to have fireworks shows this year, who would monitoring the show in case of an accidental fire – like two years ago in Alamosa. With most of these people off fighting fires, who would make sure that doesn’t happen this year?

Quite simply, this year July 4 will be better served without a fireworks show. If we are smart, personal fireworks, too, should be left for another year.

Let aside the potential to start another fire, consider the disrespect it shows to the people who are affected by the fires and to the people fighting the fires. Lighting fireworks this year in the San Luis Valley is a slap to the face of those who are fighting fires night and day. Lighting fireworks this year simply shows a veil of ignorance for what is occurring in our home state and hometowns.

So, this year as you prepare to celebrate our nation’s birth, remember what makes this nation great. It’s the togetherness, the selflessness, and the perseverance that makes this nation great; and in that light, we must respect the pain of loss, the heartbreak of fires, and we must obey fireworks bans. It’s not only out of necessity because of the dry weather, red flag warnings, and continued threats of fire, but it’s to respect the efforts of those fighting the fires and respect to those who cannot be in their homes right now.

If you’re one who loves fireworks, remember there is always next year. If you’re one who is confused as to why fireworks shows will not be happening this year, pull your head out of the sand and look to the west or take a deep breath. This year is simply not the year to be lighting anything on fire.

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