Americans longing for traditional Fourth of July fireworks, even though they are aching for normalcy after the end of pandemic restrictions, are eager to return to their old ways. Officials are asking for caution as a result of a severe drought in the West and concerns about another wildfire season.
Already, fireworks have started a few small wildfires. One was set off by a child in Utah. Another was set off in central California. A pyrotechnic device that was intended for a baby’s gender-revealing celebration set off a California wildfire that claimed the life of a firefighter. It happened during a U.S. wildfire year that scorched nearly 40 years.
Jennifer Balch, director of Earth Lab, University of Colorado, stated that some regions in the American West are suffering from the worst drought conditions for more than 100 years. Fireworks being set off at home can be dangerous due to the danger of injury and the tinder-box conditions that are ideal for setting wildfires. Federal data show that injuries rose to their highest point in 15 years last year after large gatherings were cancelled by the pandemic.
Balch stated, “As a fire science professional, I’m bracing for this fire season due to how dry and hot is already.” “I believe fireworks are a horrible idea right now.”
According to industry experts, fireworks professionals also cautioned against drought-prone areas and predicted strong sales, despite the fact that there will be a shortage due to trade disruptions and manufacturing slowdowns related to pandemics.
James Fuller, an expert on fireworks safety at Alabama’s TNT Fireworks, said that “We think it will be a great year.”
Although fireworks are an integral part of the Independence Day celebrations, they also light thousands of fires each year, including the one that destroyed Bobbie Uno’s Clearfield, Utah home last year. Before it hit her house, she had to leap out of the way.
Uno stated, “Within five second, my house from the bushes up to the roof was burning.” The fire caused $60,000 of damage to Uno’s home and forced her family from their home for several weeks.
Uno stated, “I want everybody to be aware that there is danger because it’s frightening even in small cul de-sacs.”
Many cities in Utah have banned people from lighting their fireworks during the record drought. However, many Republicans oppose a state-wide ban. Aimee Winder Newton, GOP Salt Lake County Councilwoman, supports restrictions but believes that this is not the right time to ban all fireworks.
She said, “We’re just emerging from this pandemic in which people felt like government was restricting their choices in so many ways.” “When bans are issued arbitrarily, it could lead to a situation in which people who were not going to light fireworks intentionally go out and buy fireworks just to send a message that government is against them.”