Seasonal Information
Boulder Creek high runoff

Seasonal Information

The Emergency Services Unit (ESU) is part of the Operations Division of the Boulder County Sheriff’s Office. ESU provides for the statutory responsibilities of the Sheriff outside of the typical law enforcement arena.

Seasonal responsibilities

Emergency Services provides the following seasonal information, from Christmas lighting to fireworks to tubing bans, to help keep you safe.

Seasonal Safety

General Fireworks Information

Any fireworks that leave the ground or explode are illegal in Colorado. If fire restrictions are in place or if a Red Flag Day is in effect, no fireworks of any kind are allowed. If you are within a municipality, please check with them directly to see what, if any, fireworks are allowed.

Colorado Revised Statute 24-33.5-2001

(11) “Permissible fireworks” means the following small fireworks devices designed to produce audible or visual effects by combustion, complying with the requirements of the United States consumer product safety commission as set forth in 16 CFR 1500.1 to 1500.272 and 1507.1 to 1507.12, and classified as consumer fireworks UN0336 and UN0337 pursuant to 49 CFR 172.101:

(I) Cylindrical fountains, total pyrotechnic composition not to exceed seventy-five grams each for a single tube or, when more than one tube is mounted on a common base, a total pyrotechnic composition of no more than two hundred grams;

(II) Cone fountains, total pyrotechnic composition not to exceed fifty grams each for a single cone or, when more than one cone is mounted on a common base, a total pyrotechnic composition of no more than two hundred grams;

(III) Wheels, total pyrotechnic composition not to exceed sixty grams for each driver unit or two hundred grams for each complete wheel;

(IV) Ground spinner, a small device containing not more than twenty grams of pyrotechnic composition venting out of an orifice usually in the side of the tube, similar in operation to a wheel, but intended to be placed flat on the ground;

(V) Illuminating torches and colored fire in any form, total pyrotechnic composition not to exceed two hundred grams each;

(VI) Dipped sticks and sparklers, the total pyrotechnic composition of which does not exceed one hundred grams, of which the composition of any chlorate or perchlorate shall not exceed five grams;

(VII) Any of the following that do not contain more than fifty milligrams of explosive composition:

(A) Explosive auto alarms;

(B) Toy propellant devices;

(C) Cigarette loads;

(D) Strike-on-box matches; or

(E) Other trick noise makers;

(VIII) Snake or glow worm pressed pellets of not more than two grams of pyrotechnic composition and packaged in retail packages of not more than twenty-five units;

(IX) Fireworks that are used exclusively for testing or research by a licensed explosives laboratory;

(X) Multiple tube devices with:

(A) Each tube individually attached to a wood or plastic base;

(B) The tubes separated from each other on the base by a distance of at least one-half of one inch;

(C) The effect limited to a shower of sparks to a height of no more than fifteen feet above the ground;

(D) Only one external fuse that causes all of the tubes to function in sequence; and

(E) A total pyrotechnic composition of no more than five hundred grams.

(b) “Permissible fireworks” do not include aerial devices or audible ground devices, including, but not limited to, firecrackers.

Colorado Revised Statute 24-33.5-2002

(1) Except as provided for in subsection (6) of this section, it shall be unlawful for any person to knowingly furnish to any person who is under sixteen years of age, by gift, sale, or any other means, any fireworks, including those defined as permissible fireworks in section 24-33.5-2001 (11).

(2) Except as provided for in subsection (6) of this section, it shall be unlawful for any person who is under sixteen years of age to purchase any fireworks, including those defined as permissible fireworks in section 24-33.5-2001 (11).

(3) Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit any statutory or home-rule municipality from enacting any ordinance that prohibits a person under sixteen years of age from purchasing any fireworks, including those defined as permissible fireworks in section 24-33.5-2001 (11).


(5) Except as provided in this section and in section 24-33.5-2003, it shall be unlawful for any person to possess or discharge any fireworks, other than permissible fireworks, anywhere in this state.

Fireworks Safety Tips

  • Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks.
  • Avoid buying fireworks that come in brown paper packaging, as this can often be a sign that the fireworks were made for professional displays and could pose a danger to consumers.
  • Adults should always supervise fireworks activities. Parents often don’t realize that there are many injuries from sparklers to children under five. Sparklers burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees – hot enough to melt some metals.
  • Never have any portion of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse. Move back to a safe distance immediately after lighting.
  • Never try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have not fully functioned.
  • Never point or throw fireworks at another person.
  • Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire or other mishap.
  • Light one item at a time then move back quickly.
  • Never carry fireworks in a pocket or shoot them off in metal or glass containers.
  • After fireworks fully complete their functioning, douse the spent device with plenty of water from a bucket or hose before discarding to prevent a trash fire.

Fire restrictions can be enacted either by the Sheriff or the Board of County Commissioners when certain outdoor conditions are met.

During any of the following weather events, open burning is not allowed in unincorporated Boulder County from time of issuance until midnight in which the event expires: Red Flag Warning, High Wind Warning, High Wind Watch and Fire Danger Warning. Check the local forecast for up to date information.

It is CRITICAL that visitors and residents alike do everything possible to prevent fires of all kinds. Please do what you can to protect our beautiful lands, homes and wildlife areas from the devastating effects of wildfires.

Water Safety Tips:

Proper personal safety equipment should be utilized during recreational activities in water. Safety equipment includes:

  • Personal flotation device or life jacket – make sure it is the correct size (snug and fit like a glove, yet allows you to move freely) and has a sufficient rating for the type of activity you are doing
  • Drysuit or wetsuit – when water temperatures are low, as hypothermia can set in quickly
  • Helmet – when taking part in water sports activities in shallow water or area where underwater condition is unknown

If you are taking personal water sport equipment (tube, kayak, etc.), please put your name and contact information on the equipment in the event that you lose it in the water. We can then contact you to ensure you safely exited the water.

Recreate with other people or let other people know where you are going and when you are expected back.

  • The Sheriff’s office investigates structure fires that occur within unincorporated Boulder County to find the cause and origin. They are also involved in the investigation when it is found that a crime may have occurred.

Holiday Decoration Safety Tips

Many artificial trees are fire resistant. If you buy one, look for a statement specifying this protection. A fresh tree will stay green longer and be less of a fire hazard than a dry tree. To check for freshness, remember:

  • A fresh tree is green.
  • Fresh needles are hard to pull from branches.
  • When bent between your fingers, fresh needles do not break.
  • The trunk butt of a fresh tree is sticky with resin.
  • When the trunk of a tree is bounced on the ground, a shower of falling needles shows that tree is too dry.
  • Place tree away from fireplaces, radiators and other heat sources. Heated rooms dry trees out rapidly, creating fire hazards.
  • Cut off about two inches of the trunk to expose fresh wood for better water absorption. Trim away branches as necessary to set tree trunk in the base of a sturdy, water-holding stand with wide spread feet. Keep the stand filled with water while the tree is indoors.
  • Place the tree out of the way of traffic and do not block doorways. Use thin guy-wires to secure a large tree to walls or ceiling. These wires are almost invisible.
  • Dried out trees are highly flammable, watch this short video
  • Artificial snow sprays can irritate lungs if inhaled. To avoid injury, read container labels; follow directions carefully.
  • Indoors or outside, use only lights that have been tested for safety. Identify these by the label from an independent testing laboratory.
  • Check each set of lights, new or old, for broken or cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires, or loose connections.
  • Discard damaged sets or repair them before using.
  • Fasten outdoor lights securely to trees, house, walls or other firm support to protect from wind damage.
  • Use no more than three standard-size sets of lights per single extension cord.
  • Turn off all lights on trees and other decorations when you go to bed or leave the house. Lights could short and start a fire.
  • Never use electric lights on a metallic tree
  • The tree can become charged with electricity from faulty lights, and any person touching a branch could be electrocuted! To avoid this danger, use colored spotlights above or beside a tree, never fastened onto it!
  • Keep “bubbling” lights away from children. These lights with their bright colors and bubbling movement can tempt curious children to break candle-shaped glass, which can cut, and attempt to drink liquid, which contains a hazardous chemical.
  • Never use lighted candles on a tree or near other evergreens.
  • Always use non-flammable holders.
  • Keep candles away from other decorations and wrapping paper.
  • Place candles where they cannot be knocked down or blown over. Never leave candles unattended.
  • Use only non-combustible or flame-resistant materials.
  • Wear gloves while decorating with spun glass “angel hair” to avoid irritation to eyes and skin.
  • Choose tinsel or artificial icicles or plastic or non-leaded metals. Leaded materials are hazardous if ingested by children.
  • In homes with small children, take special care to:
    • Avoid decorations that are sharp or breakable.
    • Keep trimmings with small removable parts out of the reach of children. Pieces could be swallowed or inhaled.
    • Avoid trimmings that resemble candy or food. A child could eat them!
  • Before lighting any fire, remove all greens, boughs, papers, and other decorations from fireplace area. Check to see that flue is open.
  • Keep a screen before the fireplace all the time a fire is burning.
  • Use care with “fire salts” which produce colored flames when thrown on wood fires. They contain heavy metals which can cause intense gastrointestinal irritation or vomiting if eaten. Keep away from children.
  • When making paper decorations, look for materials labeled non-combustible or flame-resistant.
  • Never place trimming near open flames or electrical connections.
  • Remove all wrapping papers from tree and fireplace areas immediately after presents are opened.
  • Do not burn papers in the fireplace. A flash fire may result as wrappings ignite suddenly and burn intensely.
  • Keep matches, lighters, and candles out of the reach of children.
  • Avoid smoking near flammable decorations.
  • Make an emergency plan to use if a fire breaks out anywhere in the home. See that each family member knows what to do. PRACTICE THE PLAN!
  • Avoid wearing loose flowing clothes—particularly long, open sleeves—near open flames – such as those of a fireplace, stove, or candle lit table.
  • Never burn candles near evergreens. Burning evergreens in the fireplace can also be hazardous. When dry, greens burn like tinder. Flames can flare out of control, and send sparks flying into a room, or up the chimney to ignite creosote deposits.
  • Plan for safety. Remember, there is no substitute for common sense. Look for and eliminate potential danger spots near candles, fireplaces, trees, and/or electrical connections.

Contact Us

Sheriff's Office

Main: 303-441-3600
Alternate: 303-441-4444
Fax: 303-441-4739


Sheriff's Headquarters
5600 Flatiron Parkway
Boulder, CO 80301
Map and Directions


Sheriff's website
Head Quarters Lobby Hours:
8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Sheriff badge