The weekend's fireworks started with a bang Friday night. A short show followed the first of the weekend's two Steamboat Springs Pro Rodeo Series events. A longer version is planned to follow tonight's rodeo performance. The booming should start a little after 9:15 p.m.

Photo by Joel Reichenberger

The weekend's fireworks started with a bang Friday night. A short show followed the first of the weekend's two Steamboat Springs Pro Rodeo Series events. A longer version is planned to follow tonight's rodeo performance. The booming should start a little after 9:15 p.m.

This year's show boasts 3,300 fireworks, 10,000 explosions

People urged to stay away from firing sites

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Watch the show

Tonight's fireworks display begins at about 9:30 p.m. Residents are encouraged to watch the show from home, and those who will travel to Howelsen Hill are encouraged to take Steamboat Springs Transit's free buses or park at the Stock Bridge Transit Center and walk to Howelsen Hill on the Yampa River Core Trail.

Tune in to KBCR at 96.9 FM for a live simulcast of the event with music.

Safety tips

- It is illegal for anyone younger than the 16 to purchase fireworks.

- The fireworks permissible in Routt County include sparklers, fountains and ground spinners.

- Fireworks that do not explode or leave the ground are all legal in Colorado, but remember, even legal fireworks burn at high temperatures and can ignite clothing easily; always keep children away from fireworks.

- Firecrackers, rockets (including bottle rockets), Roman candles and mortars are not legal anywhere in Colorado.

- Never relight fireworks that have gone out, they still could be live and go off unexpectedly.

- Establish a safe viewing area away from houses and shrubbery; never light fireworks inside.

- Fireworks of any kind are illegal on U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management lands.

- For more information or assistance in preparing for a safe Fourth of July celebration, call Steamboat Springs Fire Rescue Mountain offices at 879-0700 or 879-7170.

Source: Steamboat Springs Fire Rescue

— For about 20 minutes tonight, fireworks will be launched into the air at a rate of nearly three per second with the goal of pulling off Steamboat Springs' largest Fourth of July pyrotechnics display.

"It's a big show," said fireworks show organizer Tim Borden, who said the 3,300 fireworks will produce about 10,000 total explosions. "And it's going to be a great show."

The fireworks display begins at about 9:30 p.m. Borden said it will include a firework that, at 16 inches in diameter, is one of the largest single fireworks in the nation.

Borden holds federal licenses that allow him to purchase, store and display fireworks. Although the city allocates $10,000 annually for the show, and that is matched by another $10,000 from sponsors, Borden buys more than $100,000 worth of fireworks wholesale from China every few years and employs volunteers to put on a fireworks show for a fraction of what it would cost another community to put on a comparable show with an outside contractor.

Borden said he has 20 volunteers this year, who will start working at 8 a.m. today. He also said he has attended a couple of professional conventions in the past year and purchased brand new firing equipment. Technical issues and a few small fires cut the 2008 show short.

Borden said the city of Steamboat Springs has approved a new firing site on Howelsen Hill this year that will allow the fireworks to be seen from more locations in town than ever before. There are three total firing sites. Residents are encouraged to watch the show from home, and those who will travel to Howelsen Hill are encouraged to take Steamboat Springs Transit's free buses or park at the Stock Bridge Transit Center and walk to Howelsen Hill on the Yampa River Core Trail.

"It's a challenge to park at Howelsen," said Chris Wilson, director of the Parks, Open Space and Recreational Services Department. "Howelsen's going to be very busy."

Steamboat Springs Transit will run six extra buses this evening to transport people to and from the fireworks show at Howelsen Hill. Bus service normally ends at 10:30 p.m., but Transit Operations Manager Jonathan Flint said service will continue today for as long as it's needed to clear crowds after the show.

Cyclists are encouraged to make sure they have a light on their bike.

"Afterward, it's pitch black, and it's dangerous on the trail," Wilson said.

For safety reasons, trail access between Blackmere Drive and Howelsen Hill Stables will be closed today from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. Blackmere Drive itself will be closed only from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m.

"We are certainly hopeful that nobody wanders up there after 6 p.m. at night, because that's dangerous," Borden said. "In the fireworks business, people don't get burned, it's usually much more serious."

This year's show is sponsored by the city, Native Excavating, TIC, Ace at the Curve, My Wireless, Steamboat Resorts, KBCR Big Country Radio and Yampa Valley Bank. Tune in to KBCR at 96.9 FM for a live simulcast of the event with music.

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