July Fourth proves quiet for Steamboat law enforcement

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— Local police and firefighters said they were pleasantly surprised with how well people behaved during Steamboat Springs’ Fourth of July festivities.

“It was refreshing,” Steamboat Springs Police Department Sgt. Scott Middleton said. “I don’t know if it was the Beatles cover band or what, but people were in a good mood.”

Alcohol-related incidents such as fights typically are common July 4, Middleton said, and this year, police and firefighters were on high alert for fireworks. All fireworks that must be lit for use are banned this year throughout Colorado because of extremely dry conditions and fears of wildfire.

Steamboat Springs Fire Rescue Capt. Travis Wilkinson said an engine with firefighters conducted fireworks patrols in Steamboat neighborhoods Wednesday evening. He said there was some concern that with the light rainfall Wednesday night, people might become complacent and decide to light fireworks.

“As far as I know, they didn’t have any contacts with people who were violating the ban,” Wilkinson said about his crew. “It was surprisingly quiet for us.”

The light rain did nothing to change the fire conditions, he added.

No firework citations have been issued by Steamboat police or the Routt County Sheriff’s Office.

“Our stance is 100 percent enforcement, meaning if anyone is using fireworks in the county we will cite and collect the fireworks,” Undersheriff Ray Birch wrote in an email. “To my knowledge we have written two citations for campfires in the past two weeks. That’s about it.”

Officials hope residents and visitors continue to abide by the Stage 2 fire restrictions in place throughout all of Routt County.

“I think people understand the risk,” Wilkinson said.

Police also were pleased with the law-abiding nature of most holiday revelers Wednesday evening.

Middleton said there were a couple of fights at the concert and two others downtown, but they did not result in arrests. Police arrested an Oak Creek man on suspicion of driving under the influence of drugs and a Steamboat woman on suspicion of driving while ability impaired.

Birch said deputies responded to some parties where minors were drinking alcohol.

Otherwise, “it was very quiet,” he said.

To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247 or email mstensland@SteamboatToday.com

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