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Night skies over some American cities will remain dark this Independence Day, with supply chain and staffing shortages, drought and wildfire concerns causing several fireworks shows across the country to be canceled.

For some, it will be the third year in a row that their shows have been cancelled.

“The first two years were pandemic related and this year it’s supply chain related,” said Adam Waltz, a spokesman for the city of Phoenix, where the three major fireworks shows have been canceled. According to Mr. Waltz, the vendor who usually supplies the city with its fireworks, had been unable to promise the product.

“It’s just disheartening,” he added.

Other cities have canceled their fireworks shows over wildfire concerns. In the west in particular, this summer’s drought and hot, dry, windy weather have already helped set the conditions for fast moving flames. As of Friday, there were 55 major wildfires in 11 states, including the Rices Fire in Nevada County, California.which had grown to more than 900 acres since it started Tuesday, according to the National Interagency Fire Center.

In Flagstaff, Arizona, about 150 miles north of Phoenix, city officials decided they would rather plan a laser light show than put on fireworks that they might have to cancel at the last minute if weather conditions prevented the show from taking place. in a safe way.

“We are facing dangerous conditions,” said Sarah Langley, a city spokeswoman. She said the city had not yet made a decision on whether it would continue to replace fireworks with laser light shows in the coming years.

North of Lake Tahoe, California, city ​​officials said they decided to replace their annual 4th of July fireworks show with drones, also due to fire hazards, as well as other environmental risks. (A variety of Chemical products that can be pollutants are needed. to make big, loud and colorful fireworks shows.)

Credit…Elias Funez/La Union, via Associated Press

screens in the Don Pedro Lakeabout 50 miles east of Modesto, California, and ClaremontCalifornia, about 35 miles east of downtown Los Angeles, have also been canceled due to the state’s crippling drought.

In Claremont, this is the third year in a row the program has been canceled, said Melissa Vollaro, a city spokeswoman. She said it takes about 650,000 gallons of water to wet the area where fireworks are launched, which was impossible under current water restrictions. Instead, she told her, the city was planning a concert in the park.

Other cities have canceled their shows due to staff shortages.

Cal Expo in Sacramento said he needed to focus his staff and resources at the upcoming state fair and food festival and therefore was unable to host the Independence Day fireworks. In Ocean City, Maryland, the authorities said two fireworks shows could not take place due to “manpower shortages”. Officials in Minneapolis also said they had to cancel the screen due to construction at a local park, as well as staffing issues.

In many other parts of the country, including New York City, Independence Day celebrations continue as planned. For some, it’s the first time they’ve shown fireworks since before the coronavirus pandemic.

“Everyone is ready to celebrate their independence from this virus,” said Julie L. Heckman, executive director of the American Pyrotechnics Association.

Millisecond. Heckman said that while some shows have been canceled, he still expected the number of professional fireworks displays across the country to exceed 2020 and 2021.

“Demand is at 110 percent of pre-pandemic levels,” Ms. Heckman said, adding that she was expecting about 17,000 shows across the country in the days leading up to Independence Day. (Before the coronavirus pandemic, she said, there were about 16,000 shows during this period across the country.)

Some residents of cities with canceled shows plan to light their own fireworks. Some types of consumer fireworks are legal in 49 states, as well as the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, although individual counties and cities may impose bans, Ms. Diablos said. Consumer fireworks are prohibited in Massachusetts.

Credit…Joshua Rashaad McFadden for The New York Times

Dennis Revell, a spokesman for TNT Fireworks, the largest distributor of consumer fireworks in the country, said that in 2020, when the vast majority of public events were canceled, sales of TNT increased significantly, both in terms of gross sales and in the number of people buying their products. “We retained a lot of that in 2021,” Mr. Revell said. But, he added, “it’s too early to predict what 2022 will look like.”

However, some smaller retailers have also been affected by supply chain issues.

Eyvonne Hall, owner of Discount Fireworks in Brainerd, Minnesota, about 130 miles northwest of Minneapolis, said she had been waiting for some orders, which used to take a week to arrive, for more than a month.

She said she had called 12 different vendors looking for one particularly beloved firework: Pure Fantasy. “They’re cute and colorful, and the fountain goes up a little bit and people love that,” Ms. Hall said. “It’s been slow this year,” she added. “I just hope that maybe in the next few days he will recover.”

In Queen Creek, about 40 miles southeast of Phoenix, where public fireworks displays have been canceled, another vendor said her business had picked up, thanks in part to the cancellations.

“They are really disappointed, and it’s a shame, but they are very excited to try these new fountains at home,” Christian Valles, who runs the fireworks stand, said of his customers. He added, “you will get a good show.”

Michael Lusiak, a fireworks enthusiast from Green Bay, Wisconsin, about 115 miles north of Milwaukee, said that since 2020 he has been trying to step up his private show, hoping to dazzle Independence Day revelers. that may not have had a place. more to go.

The best time, said Mr. Lusiak, a farmer who hosts the shows in his employer’s cornfield, is the grand finale. “I can feel the shock waves in my chest, and I know I’m making a statement that people for miles are going to see or hear,” he said.

“All the cheering and honking,” he added, “that’s one of the best feelings in the world.”


June 30, 2022

An earlier version of this article erroneously stated the location of the town of Queen Creek, Arizona. It’s southeast of Phoenix, not southwest.

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