The USDA 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. The incident occurred during an unsanctioned “cruise” organized on social media by an anonymous group calling itself “Nationwide Productions.”

According to videos and information posted by the group on Instagram, more than 140 people hiked to the summit of Mount Evans after driving to the top of the road the night before it closed for the season. Evidence of the fireworks display was recovered from the summit by Forest Service crews on Sept. 3.

Fireworks are always illegal on the National Forest; and Clear Creek County is under fire restrictions due to extremely dry conditions and high temperatures. Any uncontrolled spark can cause a wildfire.

Fireworks have been responsible for causing destructive fires on public lands around the nation. They can frighten and hurt wildlife. They negatively affect the experience of other users, such as people who were camping at the campgrounds nearby or stargazing from the mountaintop. And, they can be particularly harmful to the fragile high alpine ecosystem in places like Mount Evans.

“The National Forest is the public’s land to use and enjoy,” said Clear Creek District Ranger Scott Haas. “But with shared ownership comes shared responsibility. A key part of that responsibility is to know the rules. If you are organizing an event and aren’t sure of the rules, call first.”

Mount Evans, one of Colorado’s most iconic 14ers, is a fragile alpine ecosystem and is habitat for mountain goats, bighorn sheep, ptarmigan and pica and is partly designated as Wilderness. The Forest Service manages the recreation area in close coordination with Denver Mountain Parks, Colorado Department of Transportation and Clear Creek County.

If anyone has information related to the “cruise” or illegal fireworks display, please contact USDA Forest Service Law Enforcement at 303-275-5266.