Steamboat cancels July 4th fireworks, laser show as summer events face uncertainty
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — The city of Steamboat Springs announced Tuesday it is canceling its Fourth of July fireworks and laser show due to COVID-19. In 2012, 2017 and 2018, the city canceled fireworks due to fire restrictions.
The cancellation announcement comes as summer events face uncertainty because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Discussions continue on how Fourth of July daytime events in Steamboat will be affected.
“We are like many other municipalities that are experiencing uncertainties around public gatherings this summer,” Steamboat Springs City Manager Gary Suiter said. “Faced with those unknowns, along with the city’s ability to provide adequate support services, the fireworks show just does not seem feasible for 2020.”
It was an additional concern for the city that Fourth of July falls on a Saturday this year and would most likely draw a larger crowd. Concerns around community safety also played a strong factor in the decision, according to the city, as well as physical distancing concerns for the large volunteer staff required to put on the event.
Aside from concerns related to the coronavirus, wildfire fears continue to be a factor surrounding firework displays as conditions are already drying out across the Yampa Valley.
“We’re just into May and much of the state has already seen their first red flag warnings,” Interim Steamboat Fire Chief Chuck Cerasoli said. “The area’s first wildfire sparked up already and long-range forecasts are showing areas of concern with warmer and drier weather patterns. These things don’t paint a promising picture for fireworks compounding the public health issues.”
Funds for the fireworks celebration have been placed in the 2021 budget, according to the city.
“This decision has been difficult to say the least,” Suiter said. “Based on what we know now around gatherings, it seems appropriate to make this decision now instead of waiting.”
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