More Cities Across US Replace Traditional Fireworks With Drone Displays, Citing Fire Risks and Reduced Air Quality

Kos Temenes
By Kos Temenes
July 3, 2023US News
More Cities Across US Replace Traditional Fireworks With Drone Displays, Citing Fire Risks and Reduced Air Quality
Visitors watch the Independence Day fireworks display near the Lincoln Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, on July 4, 2021. (Alex Edelman/AFP via Getty Images)

Some cities across the United States have opted for a different kind of 4th of July celebration this year. Salt Lake City, Utah, and Boulder, Colorado, will be featuring their first drone shows as opposed to the traditional firework displays, in an attempt to offer a safer alternative to fireworks.

According to Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall, the drones are a safer alternative to prevent excess air pollution and reduce the risk of wildfires.

“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,” Mendenhall said in a press release.

Colorado is currently experiencing an active wildfire, which has so far destroyed around 1,000 acres in Las Animas County, according to the Denver Gazette, while Utah experiences up to 1,000 wildfires each year, its Department of Public Safety reported.

Moreover, according to Flying Magazine, exploding fireworks caused more than 10,000 injuries last year, as reported by Breitbart.

The use of drones as an alternative to fireworks has been adopted by several U.S. cities in previous years. In 2022, Castle Rock, Colorado replaced the traditional display with drone shows to mitigate wildfire risks.

According to Carrie Mahan Groce, a spokesperson for Castle Rock, the summer months prove particularly challenging for the town.

“Based upon the fire chief’s review, the town no longer has an area large enough to accommodate not only the safe discharge of aerial fireworks but also allow maximum viewing in Castle Rock during the summer months,” Groce said, according to local media outlet Westword.

Independence Day drone displays will also be featured in Ocean Beach and La Jolla in San Diego County, California, for the first time, according to CBS8. La Jolla reportedly had no firework displays for the last five years. Chicago also went down a similar route this year, according to Breitbart.

Drones are considered advantageous by some in that they can be reused for extended periods of time and require only little maintenance. Some advocates have praised them for creating less debris and noise, which can cause issues for animals and those who are sensitive to noise, such as people who suffer from PTSD or similar conditions.

In addition, drones can also create aerial animations, which cannot be done with traditional fireworks.

However, not all communities see the drone displays as a good idea. According to Fox News, Ocean City, Maryland, returned to a traditional firework display this year, after using drone displays in 2021.

Local officials reportedly described the displays as a fad that ultimately proves to be more costly than conventional fireworks.

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