The city of Cupertino will not put on its annual fireworks display this year due to California’s devastating four-year-long drought.
The city posted a note on its website this week explaining the reason for the cancellation: the artificial turf at Cupertino High School needs 100,000 gallons of water sprayed on it before and after the fireworks display to ensure no fires break out.
Ironically, the high school switched entirely to artificial grass a few years ago to cut back on watering.
“People are very disappointed. Who doesn’t love fireworks? But overall, I think they get it,” city spokesman Rick Kitson told NBC Bay Area.
Cupertino may be the first city in California to cancel a fireworks display because of the drought. Until now, it was one of the only city-funded fireworks shows in the Bay Area.
Kitson told NBC that if the high school still had real grass, the show could have gone on as scheduled, because ash and sparks on real grass are not nearly as dangerous as ash and sparks on a field made entirely of plastic. The plastic needs to be well hosed-down both before and after the fireworks, something the city won’t do with the resource in such short supply.
“Because we’ve done the right thing, the total use of water becomes more conspicuous,” Kitson told NBC.
The city stressed that even though the fireworks display won’t be happening this year, Independence Day revelers would find other city-hosted activities improved. The city’s pancake breakfast, flag raising, and children’s parade will go an as scheduled, and there will be free swimming at Blackberry Farm in the afternoon.