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Thanks to heavy rainfall, and low fire dangers, the conditions were favorable for Western Enterprises, Inc., a fireworks production company, to set up their shell boxes for this year’s big Independence Day event at Metzler Ranch Park. Funded by the Philip S. Miller Trust, the celebration brought thousands of people together to ring in our country’s holiday alongside their Castle Rock neighbors.

While watchers may have longed for a more ‘high-flying’ fireworks show, due to dangers to residents, parked cars and surrounding housing, the Castle Rock Fire Department was inclined to hold a ‘less risky’ exhibition this Fourth – it’s simple logic that the higher the fireworks blast into the air, the more people and area the blast will cover.

Left to right: Castle Rock Fire Chief, Art Morales, Fire Prevention Officer, R. Young and Western Enterprises, Inc., Pyrotechnics Manager, Ken Reeves
Left to right: Castle Rock Fire Chief, Art Morales, Fire Prevention Officer, R. Young and Western Enterprises, Inc., Pyrotechnics Manager, Ken Reeves,

Fire fighters, along with the fire truck, police officers and several volunteers were on hand working closely with the company to keep residents and area structures out of danger. “This year, as you know, we are trying to keep everything within a 150 foot radius, to help reduce the fallout of the fireworks,” commented Castle Rock Fire Chief Art Morales.

All the boxes are wired together and controlled by the switches contained in this box
All the boxes are wired together and controlled by the switches contained in this box

But to keep us safe, as well as impress spectators, there’s a lot of planning that goes into putting on a great show. Depending on the size and amount of shells contained within the plastic wrapping, each box weighs anywhere from 10 to 40 pounds. Each of these boxes is then wired together, in a pattern, to be tripped by the flick of a switch from a remote transistor that communicates with each festive explosive.

Field of fireworks boxes set for the show at Metzler Ranch Park Saturday
Field of firework boxes set for the show at Metzler Ranch Park Saturday

Likewise, wind is a volatile factor of any fireworks show. “We send up two test shells before the show. One 30 minutes prior and another 15 minutes prior, to monitor the direction of the wind,” said Ken Reeves, Pyrotechnics Manager, Western Enterprises Inc. “Because the wind can switch at anytime.”

And though they have the park secured for next year’s event, they are considering other locations around town where more residents in Castle Rock might have the ability to see the celebration. “We are looking at other areas to possibly have the show next year but that will depend on a lot of things such as fire dangers next summer,” noted Chief Morales.