Several U.S. cities are canceling fireworks displays this Fourth of July amidst wildfire danger and supply-chain issues.
While experts say that overseas shipping and labor shortages – worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic – have impacted shows, drought and dangerous fire weather have made traditional fireworks extremely risky.
Arizona's capital has called off three of its major Independence Day, citing supply chain issues, and the city of Flagstaff is replacing its fireworks with a laser show.
Overseas shipping, transportation in the U.S., rising insurance costs and labor shortages have led to the canceled displays, along with demand for fireworks shows at concerts, sports stadiums and the Fourth of July holiday that largely were absent during the first two years of the pandemic, Heckman said.
"The demand is so high that it's almost like a perfect storm," said Julie Heckman, executive director of the American Pyrotechnics Association, adding that not having enough crew to work the shows or rental trucks to transport materials has added to the crunch.
On California's central coast and Castle Rock, Colorado, pyrotechnic displays were scrapped over worries about wildfires.
In the San Joaquin Valley, a show at Lake Don Pedro was also dropped due to drought.
Spectators watch as fireworks explode overhead during the Fourth of July celebration at Pioneer Park, on July 4, 2013, in Prescott, Ariz. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson, File / AP Newsroom)
In 2021, fears of worst-case fire scenarios led to similar decisions – especially in America's West. Leaders banned personal fireworks, hoping to stave off injuries and more fires.
However, in New Mexico, major cities are continuing with Fourth of July fireworks, under the supervision of fire departments.
FILE PHOTO: The Hermits Peak and Calf Canyon wildfire burns near Las Vegas, New Mexico, U.S. May 4, 2022. (REUTERS/Kevin Mohatt/File Photo / Reuters)
The state saw a historic blaze this year – caused by prescribed burns – that spread over more than 340,000 acres.
According to the National Interagency Fire Center, there are now more than 4,400 wildland firefighters and support personnel assigned to incidents across the country.
Spectators watch the annual Independence Day fireworks display outside the Philadelphia Museum of Art in Philadelphia on July 4, 2021. (Photo by ED JONES/AFP via Getty Images / Getty Images)
Since Jan. 1, 2022, 32,689 wildfires have burned more than 3.5 million acres, well above the 10-year average.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.