DENVER (CBS4) – Gov. John Hickenlooper is urging Coloradans to be aware of the fire danger heading into the Fourth of July weekend.

Small fireworks and sparklers may seem simple but their intense heat and explosive nature can cause injuries — and they’re illegal in many Colorado counties. Police, doctors and the governor are warning folks the consequences to safety are just too high and are asking people to not set off fireworks.

No doubt fireworks are a beautiful tradition but TJ Harlin also knows just how dangerous they can be. He saw a friend loose his fingers from a single firecracker.

“He was going to throw it up in the air before it went off and that didn’t happen; so it goes off in his hand,” Harlin said.

Nationally, more than 200 people a day end up in emergency rooms with firework injuries, a majority happening around the Fourth of July. Most common injuries are burns to hands, face or eyes. They typically happen to men 15 to 45.

Bottle rockets and firecrackers are the biggest culprits.

“I have seen numerous instances where people using things as simple as sparklers have burned their hands and burned their faces and injured their eyes,” Denver Health paramedic Scott Lookman said.

“Have fun but stay smart,” Hickenlooper said.

Of Colorado’s 64 counties, 48 are under a firework ban. Hickenlooper encourages everyone to leave the fireworks to the professionals.

“Above all, stay vigilant,” he said. “Even if you didn’t have a fire, if you see some smoke coming from somewhere, make sure you tell somebody.”

Possessing and setting off fireworks can bring a $1,000 fine.

Wildfire Resources

– Visit’s Wildfire Resources section.

– Read recent Wildfire stories.

Wildfire Photo Galleries

– See images from the most destructive wildfires (Black Forest, Waldo Canyon, High Park and Fourmile) and largest wildfire (Hayman) in Colorado history.


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