Fire danger increases after a safe Fourth of July

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GRAND JUNCTION; Colo. (KJCT) Fireworks stands across Grand Junction are now closed, but the fire danger threat will go up as temperatures increase and the air dries out.

"Even though it rained two or three days in a row, plants dry out super quick and they're dead—so they're not going to absorb that moisture and they're going to go up quick with any ignition sources," said Eric Moyer, captain of Grand Junction Fire Department Station 3.

Fireworks aren't the only thing that can spark a flame in these hot and dry weather conditions.

"Don't be throwing out cigarettes in dry areas or any area for that matter. Don't be setting off fireworks, and also be cautious of where you're parking your vehicles,” Moyer said.

The grass along I-70 was already dried out and it easily caught fire today while CDOT was working on repairing the guardrail along the eastbound exit 26.

"It looks like there might have been some sparks from a cutting tool that caused a minor brush fire," Moyer said.

Today the small fire was contained, but this week when the winds pick up a fire can quickly spread out of control.

Fire danger was low over the Fourth of July weekend, and emergency responders said most people used their fireworks responsibly.

"I think overall Mesa County was pretty mild," said Rich Acree, fire warden for Mesa County Sheriff’s Office.

Grand Junction Fire department responded to two small firework-related fires.

Grand Junction Police received 24 complaint phone calls, but there were no arrests or tickets given.

MCSO did respond to a six and a half acre fire burning in cheat grass in the desert at 34 and C Road.

“It wasn't illegal fireworks—it was sparklers, from what I understand," Acree said.

The fire threat was low because of the rain Grand Junction received the week before Independence Day.

Firework stand operators like Paul Labig said the rain slowed business earlier in the week, but in the end the weather didn’t hurt business.

"Overall it was a really good year, it's the biggest fundraiser we do for our youth group," said Labig, who is also the youth pastor at The Rock Church.

Labig said the group made enough money to pay for a trip to a national youth convention.

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