by Rick Langenberg:
On the eve of what some locals hoped would serve as another gala Independence Day celebration, Cripple Creek leaders, despite a spree of recent rumors and the bombardment of a few rain storms, delivered the bad news: Absolutely no fireworks on the Fourth.
During the July 3 city council meeting, Administrator Ray White confirmed that the town would continue with its recently announced plans to delay its highly touted pyrotechnical display, considered one of the best in southern Colorado. The stellar fireworks show, though, will still occur according to White. He hinted that it may light up the skies overlooking Cripple Creek during one of the town’s special events later in the summer.
White said that even with the arrival of a few rainy days, the moisture wasn’t enough to overcome the severe fire dangers in the area. “It hasn’t nearly eliminated the threat,” said White.
He reminded the council that Cripple Creek, Woodland Park and Teller County are still under a Stage Two fire ban, which is one step below shutting down many public recreation areas. Under Stage Two restrictions, prohibitions are placed against outdoor smoking, lighting charcoal grills and doing many construction activities. Extreme fire danger warning signs are exhibited all across the Ute Pass and Teller County. The Imperial Hotel in Cripple Creek recently hosted a fire preparedness meeting for southern Teller residents, sponsored by the Southern Teller County Economic Development Coalition.
The administrator noted that the 2013 July 4th celebrations will definitely be muted in the Pikes Peak region, when it comes to fireworks. The city of Woodland Park canned its plans for commercial displays on both July 4 and July 5. A few shows, however, did occur down the Pass. The city of Colorado Springs, at the last minute, decided to pursue plans for a more down-sized show in Memorial Park. This decision, according to reports in the Colorado Springs media, was partially made due to growing demands, as this annual celebration had been experiencing smaller crowds since the city eliminated its fireworks show for the last several years. The invasion of a few semi-rainy days, and cooler weather convinced Springs’ officials to give the display the go-ahead.
Probably one of most elaborate fireworks shows in the state occurred at Coors Field in Denver, following the game between the Colorado Rockies and their division rivals the Los Angeles Dodgers. Better yet, the July 4th show occurred during a rare occurrence these days since the injury of Rockies superstar Troy Tulowitzki: A win.
At the same time, officials say the festive atmosphere, associated with many local Independence Day events still prevailed and attracted good crowds, despite no fireworks.
Local firefighters recognized
And as far as fighting fires in the region, White praised the work of the local fire department. According to the administrator, the Cripple Creek Fire Department played a key role in saving many structures during the devastating fire in the Black Forest area that scorched more than 500 homes. The fire, which killed two people, brought back memories from the Waldo Canyon blaze of last year. It now ranks as the most expensive fire in the history of Colorado.
White reported last week that a crew of Cripple Creek firefighters, summoned to the Black Forest area, alone saved nearly 25 structures. “We made a significant difference,” said White.
The administrator stated that its local crew of wildfire firefighters has gained quite a reputation for battling blazes throughout the state this time of year. As part of this arrangement, they are reimbursed for their services.
It’s been a busy time for Creek firefighters. After battling blazes in the Black Forest area, they had to immediately return to fight a fire at the doorstep of town off Teller One.