July fourth is upon us and tens of millions of Americans are travelling the length and breadth of the country to celebrate with family and friends. The holiday is well known for its food and firework shows, but the environmental situation of the US this year could put some of those plans on hold.
Some of the hottest and driest states in the country have been experiencing droughts for months now. Authorities are concerned that the unlicensed launching of fireworks could lead to a heightened risk of serious forest fires, so they have prohibited their use for this year. According to the National Fire Protection Association moer wild faires are started on July fourth compared to any other day of the year.
Which states have a ban?
Arizona has already had a number of firework shows cancelled this year, with its most serious wildfire happeneing mere weeks ago.
The show in Phoenix will be replaced by a laser light show.
The state has been particularly affected by the drought, with more than 60 percent of the state is in extreme drought with another 12 percent at the highest level on the US drought monitor.
Carlsbad city has a ban on firework sale and use the last weekend as well as a San Joaquin Valley fireworks show at Lake Don Pedro has also been canceled.
The city of Castle Rock has been under fire restrictions since April 21, the sale of fireworks is permitted but using private fireworks is not.
Massuchesetts is the only state on this list which has a permanent firework ban. The only organisation that can organise fireworks is the state government.
New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham signed an executive order in April demanding municipalities and counties to ban the sale of fireworks. Hundreds of square miles of land has been destroyed by fires this year.
However, Albuquerque will host its Freedom 4th event that will use fireworks. Monsoon rain has also allowed certain fireworks to be used in the city. If you are in doubt where you can and can’t launch pyrotechnics consult your town information website.
The Lone Star state has counties witnessing five wildfires daily due to the intense heat. Bell County Judge David Blackburn has warned residents to be vigilant this wekend.
“We’re still urging everybody to be very, very cautious out there,” Blackburn said. “While we do have some moisture in the ground that we didn’t have prior to the rains, it will dry back up, and we need everybody to be very cautious and very careful.”
Texas has the most widespread bans on fireworks for July fourth, usually in bills called a ‘burn ban.’