CLEAR CREEK COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – Federal enforcement officers launched an investigation after CBS4 asked questions about a massive fireworks show at the top of Mount Evans. More than 100 cars drove to the top and brought loads fireworks with them on Sunday night.
Nationwide Productions promoted the 9th Annual End of the Summer Cruise to the Summit on social media with a flyer. Dozens of people gathered and cheered as fireworks burst overhead.
“Mount Evans is one of the most iconic places in the national forest,” Reid Armstrong, Public Affairs Representative for the Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests, told CBS4 Tuesday.
Fireworks are always illegal in Arapaho & Roosevelt National Forests and are also banned under current Clear Creek County Fire restrictions.
“We are under very dry conditions everywhere across the Clear Creek Ranger District. There’s no spark that’s safe,” she said.
The peaceful mountaintop retreat was shattered with the roars of dozens of cars and illegal fireworks.
“I have no doubt that that was surreal and exhilarating in the moment. It was also shortsighted,” Armstrong said.
Organizers declined a request for an interview on camera, but answered some questions from CBS4 about the planning of the event. They tell CBS4 they were not involved in the fireworks and had no control over what the people who showed up did while at the summit.
“Sometimes 10 people show up to an event and sometimes 500,” a person, listed as the president of the organization, told CBS4.
Video from a person who was at the summit shows a crowd gathering as fireworks explode nearby.
Forest Service rangers are now pouring over social media posts.
“There have been previous rides to the top. We just became aware this morning of the fireworks. It’s under investigation,” Armstrong said.
A major concern, aside from fire danger, is the critical wildlife habitat at the summit frequented by bighorn sheep mountain goats, pika and other animals.
“While I can’t speak to specifically the impact of the wildlife from this event, I know what fireworks does to my dog, and I can imagine it was terrifying for wildlife in the area,” Armstrong said.
Those responsible could face federal and county charges.