Cities Celebrating Fourth of July with Drones Instead of Fireworks

Fireworks explode over the National Mall during the Independence Day celebrations in Washington DC, Thursday, July 4, 2019, after President Donald Trump's "Salute to America'"remarks at the Lincoln Memorial. (Jose Luis Magana/AP)
Jose Luis Magana/AP

Cities across the country are ditching fireworks and opting for a more environmentally friendly patriotic celebration with a drone light show.

Both Salt Lake City, Utah, and Boulder, Colorado, will be celebrating the 4th of July with its first drone show. Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall said drones are a “safe and sustainable alternative to fireworks.”

“As temperatures rise and fire danger increases, we must be conscientious of both our air quality and the potential for wildfires,” Mendenhall said in a press release. “The summer holiday shows are a mainstay for Salt Lakers and we’re excited about adapting to new technology which will provide a safe alternative for our residents and visitors.”

Every year, Utah will have between 800 to 1,000 wildfires, according to the Utah Department of Public Safety.

The city of Boulder stated in a Facebook post the decision to switch is based on fire concerns and climate change. Colorado is currently facing an active wildfire with 1,000 acres burned in Las Animas County, the Denver Gazette reported.

Officials in Castle Rock, Colorado, made the switch to drone shows last year due to wildfire concerns, according to Carrie Mahan Groce, a spokesperson for Castle Rock

“Based upon the fire chief’s review, the town no longer has an area large enough to accommodate not only the safe discharge of aerial fireworks but also allow maximum viewing in Castle Rock during the summer months,” Groce said. 

Last year, more than 10,000 people were injured by fireworks that exploded on the ground, Flying Magazine reported

Unlike fireworks, drones can be reused and can fly in hundreds of shows before ever requiring maintenance.  

Light shows in Ocean Beach and La Jolla in San Diego County, California, will be celebrating Independence Day with drones for the first time as well. 

La Jolla has been without a fireworks show for the past five years, according to Jeff Stein, who runs California-based Drone Studios.

“Drones are reusable, and with fireworks, you have smoke, other fallout like debris, the noise stresses out dogs and people with PTSD. There’s a lot of military in San Diego,” he said.

Chicago also opted for a drone show this year, fearling loud explosions will trigger PTSD or memories from last year’s mass shooting during the city’s Fourth of July parade, WestWorld reported.

Drones only buzz and don’t have the potential to burst your eardrum like fireworks do. Fireworks can also create aerial animation, something that fireworks just can’t do. 


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