Some 4th of July Fireworks Displays Replaced With Drones Over Fire Concerns

by Lauren Boisvert

Today is the Fourth of July, and that usually means fireworks. But, in some areas of the US where wildfires are more prevalent, communities are replacing the familiar fireworks with drone-powered light shows.

In Denver, CO, the company Hire UAV Pro uses drones to create intricate light shows. Owner Graham Hill told the New York Post that orders have gone up significantly for their expertise. “Last year, we probably had about a dozen requests. But this year, we probably had like three or four hundred requests,” he shared.

The shows can use upwards of 1,000 drones, which fill the entire night sky up to 400 feet. The drones use light effects, sound, and movement to create the highly skilled displays. Colorado in particular is adamant about reducing fire threats. Canceling fireworks is one way to do that. But, you can’t just leave residents hanging on the Fourth of July, of all days. So, enter the drone shows.

“The biggest push towards doing this to replace fireworks came with the fires in Louisville, which sparked up in winter,” Hill said. “And I think that’s really what alarmed everyone to the possibility that, well, we’re having that much widespread destruction from fires in January, February. We really need to get ahead of this for the summer.”

Hill also shared that Colorado isn’t the only state to ban fireworks for fear of sparking more wildfires. “We’ve been getting a ton of calls from Utah, then would be getting a ton of calls from Southern California, and then the kind of calls from Arizona and New Mexico most recently,” he said. “So, it’s been interesting to kind of see. You know, the direct correlation between fires sparking up and then our phone ringing.”

Southwestern US States In Severe Drought, Plan Accordingly for July Fourth Fireworks

According to an online drought monitor from the National Drought Mitigation Center, much of the Western United States is in Extreme or Exceptional Drought. It’s extremely dry in the High Plains–Wyoming, Nebraska, North and South Dakota. Things are looking rough, and now more than ever it’s important to reduce fire risk. While fireworks aren’t listed among the usual causes of wildfires, there’s still high risk involved in setting them off in these dry areas.

Drones are a great alternative because they’re still fun and impressive, but without the high fire risk. Drones can create shapes in the sky that fireworks can’t; they can be programmed to create much more intricate displays than your average firework show. Additionally, drones aren’t made with perchlorates, which is an oxidizer that creates firework explosions. These dissolve in water and can pollute rivers and lakes. Plus, the smoke fireworks leave behind adds to air pollution.

So, is the age of fireworks over? Is there a new contender pushing out the old standby? Maybe, while drought conditions are so bad, and the Earth is on the verge of environmental collapse, we can put aside the fireworks and use a less invasive method of putting light in the night sky.