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Safety issues behind dry lake closure

A growing trend of the past few years is coming to a close this Fourth of July.

The Boulder City dry lake bed and surrounding desert have become a hot spot for party-goers and valley residents on the Fourth. Many people would load up their trucks and trailers and head down to the dry lake bed to create a party spot for those who were less interested in the Damboree sanctioned firework show at Veterans Memorial Park. Going to the dry lake bed has grown in popularity during the past few years, increasing the dangers associated with alcohol, illegal fireworks and large unsupervised crowds.

But no more.

The growing number of emergencies and potential for large-scale emergencies during the past few years have led to the closing of the dry lake bed for the holiday weekend.

With assistance from the Boulder City Police and Fire departments the dry lake will not be open for recreational use. By closing the area the city is making the statement that it will not turn a blind eye to any unsafe practices that are occurring with frequency there.

Problems occurring at the dry lake bed, such as excessive and underage drinking, fighting, dirt biking and off-road trucking emergencies as well as the multitude of illegal fireworks being set off, lead to a high probability of a serious emergency. With all of these variables contributing to the overall health and safety of the people engaging in such celebrations, it’s not a matter of “if” an emergency is going to happen, it’s “when.”

No one wants to be the bad guy here. The city is not taking this stance in an attempt to ruin anyone’s fun or celebration; however, the city is obligated to uphold the law and provide a safe celebration for everyone.

It is our goal at the fire station to provide people with ample time to make different plans for their Fourth of July celebration. It should be no surprise to anyone when they are not allowed access to the dry lake bed that weekend.

We encourage everyone to buy safe and sane fireworks only, and to remember to keep the drinking and partying to a safe level.

The July Fourth weekend is one of the busiest times for the city, and we would like to make sure that everyone has a great time and goes home at the end of the night.

If you have any more questions regarding the closing of the dry lake bed on the Fourth, or if you have any questions regarding safe and sane fireworks, feel free to contact me at the fire house at 702-293-9228 or you can email be at bshea@bcnv.org.

Brian Shea is a Boulder City paramedic/firefighter.

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