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California Communities Ban July Fourth Fireworks Amid Historic Drought

By By Katy Galimberti, Staff Writer
July 03, 2015, 6:25:44 AM EDT

In a state plagued by drought, Golden State residents are advised to play it safe with fireworks this Fourth of July.

In some areas, legal fireworks are banned as local officials work to prevent accidental fires caused by the dazzling pyrotechnics.

While cities like Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego will continue their annual fireworks as planned, Cupertino, California, canceled their Independence Day display due to drought concerns.

A suburb of San Jose, California, Cupertino sits in an area of extreme drought according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. Due to the volume of water needed to treat the fields at Cupertino High School, the home for the fireworks, the school declined to host this year's event.

The city said more than 100,000 gallons of water are needed to treat the fields to prevent damage to the facility.


While other cities will still celebrate Independence Day with an explosion of color across the sky, some communities are banning personal fireworks in order to prevent any accidental fires that would require water to be put out.

"Fireworks are not only dangerous, but of course due to their very nature can spark fires from dying embers reaching the dried out vegetation," AccuWeather Western Weather Expert Ken Clark said. "This is heightened during periods of droughts, especially in the historic drought California is now in."

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Kern County, California, banned the use of all fireworks in public parks due to drought conditions.

Danville, California, banned all fireworks throughout the town, including small-scale items like sparklers.

“With the drought leaving the hills and yards in Danville extremely dry, it could potentially be very dangerous to be out and using fireworks this week,” Danville Police Department Lt. Allan Shields warned. “In Contra Costa County alone, firefighters respond to several fires per year, directly attributable to fireworks.”

Two lake areas also canceled shows due to drought.

At Bass Lake, California, roughly 55 miles northeast of Fresno, the heightened drought and high fire risk led to an innovative solution for July Fourth.

After expressed disappointment over the canceled show, Bass Lake put together a plan for a laser light show over the lake as a replacement.

"There is no replacement for the fireworks show," said Michelle Miller, secretary of the Bass Lake Chamber. "But we believe the Laser Light Show will be a fun and unique alternative, and a great option considering the current fire risks."

All fireworks are banned at the recreation area.

While lasers will strike across Bass Lake, Don Pedro Lake once again canceled their firework show, citing low water levels.

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