The USDA Forest Service has opened an investigation after photographs and videos surfaced showing a large number of fireworks being fired from the summit of a popular Colorado 14er over Labor Day weekend.
According to a press release from the USDA Forest Service, the incident occurred after midnight September 2, during an unsanctioned “cruise” organized on social media by an anonymous group named “Nationwide Productions.”
Videos posted by the group on Instagram showed more than 140 people hiking to the summit of Mount Evans for the illegal fireworks display. Forest Service crews recovered a substantial amount of evidence that confirmed fireworks occurred at the summit.
The Forest Service is investigating an incident involving a large number of fireworks being fired from the summit of Mount Evans after midnight Sept. 2, 2019. Fireworks are ALWAYS illegal on National Forests! https://t.co/VLiK90UPwi pic.twitter.com/jToR5h93ny
— Forest Service, ARP (@usfsarp) September 4, 2019
According to a report from CBS4, organizers of the social media group claimed they had zero involvement in the fireworks and cannot control other people’s actions at the summit. Since the allegations have sparked, the group has since removed their Instagram page.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife retweeted about the ongoing investigation that happened the night before the iconic mountain road was set to close for the 2019 season.
This is not why we go to the mountains. Happy to see the USFS is investigating. https://t.co/RASivJzFQu
— CPW SW Region (@CPW_SW) September 4, 2019
— Matt Kroschel (@Matt_Kroschel) September 3, 2019
Located just 60 miles west of Denver, Mount Evans Scenic Byway is the highest paved road in North America. Traveling the 28-mile route to the 14,264-foot summit of Mount Evans provides visitors with scenic views of the Continental Divide and sightings of wildlife including mountain goats, herds of bighorn sheep, ptarmigan, and pika.
All fireworks are illegal in Arapahoe and Roosevelt National Forest. Clear Creek County is also currently under fire restrictions due to extremely dry conditions and high temperatures. According to authorities, any uncontrolled spark could result in a wildfire.
Anyone who has any information regarding this “cruise” or illegal fireworks display is asked to contact USDA Forest Service Law Enforcement at 303-275-5266.
Wildfires and severe injuries can be caused by the illegal use of fireworks. Do your part to prevent human-caused wildfires across the state. For more tips on preventing wildfires in Colorado, click here.
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