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Safety issues prompt closure of dry lake bed

The dry lake bed will be closed July 3-5 because of public safety officials’ growing concerns of safety issues and crowd control.

Boulder City Manager Dave Fraser said thousands of people camp at the lake bed on the Fourth of July and shoot off illegal fireworks, two things that are illegal in Boulder City.

“It’s about public safety,” Fraser said. “It’s become a really big group of people down there. It’s a public safety issue. There’s illegal activity going on.”

Fraser said with the 10,000 to 15,000 people already in attendance at Veterans’ Memorial Park for the fireworks celebration, it’s difficult to contain the large group at the lake bed.

“We’re stretched pretty thin with our police force,” he said.

Bill Conger, chief of police administration for the Boulder City Police, said the Public Works Department has posted numerous signs letting people know the dry lake bed will be closed. There will be a “significant” police presence out there in case anybody tries to sneak on.

Last Fourth of July, 3,000 to 4,000 people camped at the lake bed, including one party of approximately 1,500 to 2,000 people, Conger said.

“They even brought food trucks and other vendors in,” he said. “But the big thing was the aftermath. They shot off illegal fireworks, consumed alcohol and didn’t clean up after themselves. That’s at the city’s expense.”

The number of partyers at the dry lake bed on the Fourth of July has increased every year for at least five years, Conger said, and the city has dealt with injuries in the past because of the lake bed’s growing popularity.

The rest of the city has been relatively calm during the Fourth of July celebration, but the bulk of Boulder City law enforcement will still focus on the city’s activities for the sake of at least 10,000 people attending the day’s festivities Conger said.

Las Vegas police won’t be assisting unless Boulder City needs it, but Conger is confident it won’t.

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