“Specific areas that are particularly vulnerable are all the way from Oregon to Mexico. All of California is vulnerable,” Cal Fire Battalion Chief John Heggie said, given the ongoing drought and warm temperatures.
Fire prevention patrols will be out in force to seize of illegal fireworks, and there will be zero tolerance, Heggie added.
A city in Colorado will continue its show
While some areas are canceling their shows, a city in Colorado is choosing to keep with tradition.
“We have actually scaled back the firework display this year in order to focus on the community experience leading up to the fireworks,” the city of Louisville’s website noted. “The intent of the celebration is to be inclusive and welcoming to the entire community as we heal from the Marshall fire together.”
“We did not want to jeopardize the safety of our community due to an errant firework or debris fallout,” Croom emphasized.
California officials warn about the dangers of fireworks
Another town affected by recent wildfires is opting to do something radically different.
However, a traditional fireworks display will go on as planned in South Lake Tahoe, an area evacuated in August because of the Caldor Fire.
“Preparation for the fireworks show requires extensive watering in the days leading to the show, accounting for approximately 650,000 gallons of water,” the news release stated.
With a hot and dry holiday weekend ahead, officials in California are reminding residents of the state’s vulnerability to wildfires, given the ongoing drought.
“The reality is that every year we have wildfires started by legal and illegal fireworks,” Heggie acknowledged.
Heggie’s biggest concern is small explosives like bottle rockets and roman candles, and people using “safe and sane” fireworks in areas where they are illegal.
He warned, “Please understand that your good intentions may have devastating effects.”
New Mexico governor signs an executive order to ban fireworks
The city has prohibited fireworks in open spaces but has allowed fireworks purchased from retail stores and stands within city limits.
“Read the Warning Label. If it reads ‘WARNING’, it is illegal. If it reads ‘CAUTION’, it is legal.” the fireworks ordinance reads.
Albuquerque has already begun patrolling throughout the city ahead of the holiday. The city warns “those who are caught will be cited and will have a mandatory court appearance.”
Laser lights in lieu of fireworks
Lynze Twede, an event manager for Salt Lake City Public Lands, said the city council voted to shift the funding from a firework display to an “alternative event” earlier this year.
“[The city council] wanted to make a change and try to be an example to improve our air quality and not contribute to the already high fire danger,” Twede stressed.
Salt Lake City hopes to captivate its audience and entertain people of all ages with the transition to a laser light display hosted on July 2 and July 23.
“People can still come and expect to see an awe-inspiring show. But with this new and innovative way, we’re just lighting up our skies a little differently this year,” Twede added.
Much of western Utah, including Salt Lake City, is under a red flag warning Saturday through Monday “for wind and low relative humidity,” according to the National Weather Service office in Salt Lake City.
Strong, southerly winds of 20 to 30 mph are forecast with wind gusts up to 45 mph possible Sunday and Monday afternoon and evening. Winds are expected to decrease through the overnight hours.
“The shift from traditional fireworks to a laser light show was the responsible action to take due to extreme fire risk with the dry and hot conditions in the Northland,” said Flagstaff City Manager Greg Clifton. “It is extremely important to have a safe celebration and be fire aware.”