The night sky in some American cities will remain dark on Independence Day, with several fireworks displays across the country canceled due to concerns over supply chains and staff shortages, droughts and wildfires.
For some, it will be the third year in a row that their show has been shut down.
“The first two years were epidemic-related and this year, it’s supply-chain-related,” said Adam Waltz, a spokesman for the city of Phoenix, where three major fireworks displays have been canceled. According to Mr. Waltz, the vendors who usually deliver fireworks in the city were unable to promise the product.
“It’s just frustrating,” he added.
Other cities have canceled their fireworks displays because of concerns about wildfires. Across the west in particular, droughts, and hot, dry, and windy weather this summer have already helped create the conditions for fast-moving fires. As of Friday, there are 55 major wildfires burning in 11 states, including Rice Fire in Nevada County, California, which has grown to more than 900 acres since it began Tuesday, according to the National Intelligence Fire Center.
About 150 miles north of Phoenix, in Flagstaff, Ariz., City officials decided they would plan to have a laser light show instead of organizing fireworks that they might have to cancel at the last minute if they could not conduct the event safely due to the weather.
“We are in a dangerous situation,” said Sarah Langley, a spokeswoman for the city. He said the city has not yet decided whether to continue replacing fireworks with laser light shows in the coming years.
In North Lake Tahoe, California, city officials say they have decided to replace their annual July 4 fireworks display with a drone, also because of the risk of fire as well as other environmental hazards. (Fireworks glasses require a variety of chemicals that can be contaminants to make them bigger, louder and more colorful.)
Exhibitions at Modesto, about 35 miles east of downtown Los Angeles, Don Pedro Lake, about 50 miles east of California, and Clermont, California, have also been closed due to the state’s crippling drought.
In Claremont, this is the third year in a row that the show has been canceled, city spokeswoman Melissa Volaro said. He said the place where the fireworks were left took about 650,000 gallons of water to get wet, which was impossible under current water restrictions. Instead, he said, the city is planning a concert in the park.
Other cities have canceled their shows due to staff shortages.
The Cal Expo in Sacramento said it had to focus its staff and resources on upcoming state fairs and food festivals and was therefore unable to host Independence Day fireworks. Ocean City, Md., Authorities said the two fireworks displays could not be due to a “labor crisis.” Minneapolis officials added that they had to close the show due to construction problems in the local park as well as staff problems.
Independence Day celebrations in many parts of the country, including New York City, are well under way. For some, this will be the first time they have seen fireworks before the coronavirus epidemic.
“Everyone is ready to celebrate their freedom from the virus,” said Julie L. Heckman, executive director of the American Pyrotechnics Association.
Mrs Hackman said that although some shows had been canceled, she still hoped that the number of professional fireworks displays across the country would exceed 2020 and 2021.
“Demand is at 110 percent of the pre-epidemic level,” Ms Heckman said, adding that she expected about 17,000 events across the country in the days leading up to Independence Day. (Before the coronavirus epidemic, he said, there were about 16,000 shows nationwide during this period.)
Some city residents are planning to light their own fireworks, including a canceled show. Some types of consumer fireworks are legal in 49 states, as well as in the districts of Colombia and Puerto Rico, although individual counties and cities may impose bans, Ms Heckman said. Consumer fireworks are banned in Massachusetts.
Dennis Revel, a spokesman for TNT Fireworks, the country’s largest distributor of consumer fireworks, said that in 2020, when most public events were canceled, TNT’s sales increased significantly, with people buying their products both in terms of total sales and numbers. “We have a lot to look forward to in 2021,” Mr. Revel said. But, he added, “it’s too early to predict what 2022 will be like.”
Some small retailers, however, have been condemned by supply chain problems.
Ivan Hall, owner of Discount Fireworks in Brainard, Maine, about 130 miles northwest of Minneapolis, said he was waiting for some orders, which had taken about a week to arrive more than a month earlier.
He said he was looking for a particularly favorite fireworks from 12 different suppliers: Pure Fantasy. “These are beautiful and colorful, and the fountain rises in a way and people like it,” Mrs. Hall said. “It’s been slow this year,” he added. “I hope it grows in the next few days.”
Queen Creek, about 40 miles southeast of Phoenix, where public fireworks displays have been shut down, another vendor said that thanks to the cancellation, her business has grown.
“They’re really frustrated, and it’s a shame, but they’re really excited to try this new fountain at home,” Christian Wallace, who manages the fireworks stand, said of his customers. He added, “They’ll get a good show.”
Michael Lusiak, a fireworks enthusiast from Green Bay, Weiss, about 115 miles north of Milwaukee, says that since 2020, he has been trying to expand his personal program further, hoping for glowing Independence Day celebrants who may not have been anywhere. Go to another
The best moment, Mr. Lusiak says, is the hand of a farmer who hosts the show at his employer’s Cornfield, in the grand finale. “I can feel the shock waves in my chest, and I know I’m making a statement that people are going to see or hear mile after mile,” he said.
“All the cheers and horns are ringing,” he added, “it’s one of the best feelings in the world.”
June 30, 2022
An earlier version of this article incorrectly mentioned the location of Queen Creek, Ariz. It is southeast of Phoenix, not southwest.