LONGMONT, Colo. — With dry conditions fueling fears that fireworks could start wildfires, authorities have spent the holiday weekend reminding people some types of Fourth of July fireworks are against the law.
But now there's a new problem: people tying up 911 call lines to report their neighbors breaking the rules.
"With the heightened fire danger in Boulder County, with neighbors that have sensitivities to loud noises and explosions and things like that, we’ve just seen a lot more community angst around those illegal fireworks in the neighborhoods," Longmont Assistant City Manager Sandra Seader said.
That community angst has tied up emergency dispatchers. In 2020, there were 810 calls to the Longmont 911 center complaining of illegal fireworks — amounting to one in every five callers for the two weeks around the Fourth of July.
"It also deterred from what we'd call real calls," Seader said. "Priority one calls where there's either life, property, safety that's being threatened."
So now Longmont is joining Denver, Jefferson and Douglas counties with a new fireworks hotline — designed for residents to call and report illegal fireworks without tying up dispatchers.
A team of volunteers in the Longmont Public Safety Building answers the line and enters the data on a map for police to see. "Hopefully if they start to see 'Oh there's a problem in this neighborhood or that neighborhood,' then they can go check it out and see what's happening," Seader said.
Seader said the goal isn't to rain on anyone's parade, but to encourage folks to celebrate safely and without tying up dispatchers' phone lines. She recommends going to a designated, city-sanctioned show where fire crews are standing by, rather than going it alone.
Local fireworks hotlines
You can find other fireworks hotlines, or your local jurisdiction's non-emergency number on your city or county's website.
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