Fire-Prone Areas Across U.S. Replace Fireworks With Drone Shows For 4th Of July

 July 3, 2023

Across the U.S. cities such as Salt Lake City, Utah, and others are opting to trade fireworks displays for colorful high-tech drone shows this Fourth of July week. The change is said to be over fire safety and air quality concerns in dry areas.

Salt Lake City Mayor, Erin Mendenhall, announced, last week, it was replacing traditional fireworks for its’ Independence Day festivities and those planned on July 24 for Pioneer Day, pointing to fire hazard and air quality issues as reasons for moving to high-tech drone shows. Hence, the rockets' red-glare may be switched out for synchronized electronics in many cities this Independence Day. 

This year, Salt Lake City held its first-ever drone show, Saturday night, in what the city called a proactive effort to combat the city’s high fire danger and to alleviate air quality concerns. Mayor Mendenhall said-

"As temperatures rise and fire danger increases, we must be conscientious of both our air quality and the potential for wildfires,"… "The summer holiday shows are a mainstay for Salt Lakers, and we’re excited about adapting to new technology which will provide a safe alternative for our residents and visitors."

- Salt Lake City Mayor, Erin Mendenhall

Boulder, Colorado, is another city that has swapped the pyrotechnics for drones. Every year since 1941, Boulder has celebrated Ralphie’s Independence Day Blast, at least until the COVID-19 pandemic. This year, according to the city web site-

"The shift from traditional fireworks to drones was not an easy decision and based on a number of factors, including increased fire danger fueled by climate change,"… "While the show is going to be a bit different, it promises to be a fantastic show that aligns with our Sustainability, Equity and Resilience Framework.

-Boulder, Colorado Website

Last year, Incline Village, Kings Beach and Tahoe City - three communities along the California-Nevada border - switched to drone shows for their Independence Day celebrations, The switch was in response to the Caldor Fire. Reportedly, that particular fire, burned for 69 days, scorched 221,835 acres, destroyed 1,003 structures and forced the evacuation of 50,000 people.

In Ocean City, Maryland In 2021,officials opted for drone shows over fireworks for some of its weekly scheduled festivities. However, this year, they have gone back to fireworks shows, citing that the drone shows were a fad, and that shooting off fireworks is cheaper than holding a drone show every week.

Drone shows feature hundreds of illuminated tiny flying machines, executing pre-programmed patterns of movement to music, while forming into shapes like the American Flag, shooting stars, the American Eagle, spelling out U.S.A. and forming city logos. Sure to be the choice of many cities, in the future, who see the switch to these drone displays as an environmentally necessary alternative – the cost may shut many celebrations down altogether depending on the inflationary impact. Time will tell.

This new display of safe patriotism, is as opposed to shooting heavy pyrotechnics into the sky which burst into colorful patterns. Fireworks displays are, and continue to be, as American as apple pie, eliciting true celebratory excitement and wonder that is unparalleled.

Further, pyrotechnic displays using fireworks, in a safe manner, are still far less expensive than drone shows. Safe fireworks, where legal will always be far more inspiring. Drones, like electric/battery operated candles on a cake, seem wholly anticlimactic.

According to the National Safety Council Website-

Fireworks Safety Tips: If You Choose to Use Legal Fireworks

If consumer fireworks are legal to buy where you live and you choose to use them, be sure to follow the following safety tips:

  • Never allow young children to handle fireworks
  • Older children should use them only under close adult supervision
  • Never use fireworks while impaired by drugs or alcohol
  • Anyone using fireworks or standing nearby should wear protective eyewear
  • Never hold lighted fireworks in your hands
  • Never light them indoors
  • Only use them away from people, houses and flammable material
  • Never point or throw fireworks at another person
  • Only light one device at a time and maintain a safe distance after lighting
  • Never ignite devices in a container
  • Do not try to re-light or handle malfunctioning fireworks
  • Soak both spent and unused fireworks in water for a few hours before discarding
  • Keep a bucket of water nearby to fully extinguish fireworks that don't go off or in case of fire
  • Never use illegal fireworks
-National Safety Council Website
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