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Fireworks Company Says They Can Still Shoot Off Displays Safely

(credit: CBS)

BRIGHTON, Colo. (CBS4) - A Colorado company that puts on fireworks shows says the facts about such shows and fire danger should be checked before community leaders make their decisions about whether to go ahead with their planned fireworks shows this year.

With high fire danger across much of the state, many local governments are debating whether or not to have firework on the 4th of July, and bans are a major concern for companies worried about cancellations.

But everything from food vendors to portable toilet companies are hoping to make money off the annual shows, and Joe Diaz of Tri-State Fireworks in Brighton told CBS4 there has never been a major wildfire started by a fireworks show in Colorado.

"I hate to go there, but I think that a lot of times, these decisions are made and they aren't thought out, it's just 'Hey, we've got fire, we've got smoke and this is a good story,' " Diaz said.

Diaz lost tens of thousands of dollars when a quarter of his shows were canceled last year. He says politicians should not be calling for fireworks shows to be canceled. Instead, he feels fire departments should make those decisions.

"2012 was considered to be one of the driest years on record and we shot many shows north of 6th Avenue, and had no problems at any location," Diaz said.

In the weeks and months that followed Independence Day last year, some Colorado communities that canceled fireworks on the 4th held other events where fireworks were set off. Diaz was hired for some of those shows later in the year, and said conditions then "were really not any different than what they were during the 4th."

Diaz points out there's no way he would aggressively run the risk of a sparking a fire. It would be bad business.

"This is what we do for a living," he said. "We're not going to go off half cocked and jeopardize what we do."

So far, fireworks are banned in El Paso County, where the Black Forest Fire burned, and Fremont County where a wildfire caused damage at the Royal Gorge Bridge and Park. Fremont County posted a message on their website about their event, saying the sheriff there is concerned about firefighting resources wearing thin.

The annual Lakewood on Parade event, featuring fireworks, was canceled four months ago, but that was a decision made by a private entity and not by the city.

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