Fewer fireworks, yet bigger parties to celebrate Independence Day in western U.S.

Source: Xinhua| 2017-07-06 21:08:22|Editor: Zhang Dongmiao
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by Peter Mertz

DENVER, the United States, July 5 (Xinhua) -- Across the American West, thousands of parties and parades were accompanied by large fireworks displays, despite many cancellations due to drought conditions.

In the U.S. state of Colorado, the high-mountain ski resort towns of Aspen and Steamboat Springs canceled fireworks because of the risk of wildfires.

"The nighttime skies were colorful on the Front Range (located in the central area of Colorado), but in the mountains, conditions were super dry," said Rose Ellis, 21, a camp counselor in the town of Estes Park.

Ellis made an one-hour trip from the mountains into the city of Boulder to enjoy a "spectacular 30-minute show" on the edge of the Rocky Mountains.

Cupertino, a Californian city, canceled its annual fireworks show this year because of drought conditions in the state.

"It's just too risky here with the six-year drought, lack of water, and dry conditions," said businessman John Ott from the city of San Luis Obispo.

In remote areas of Colorado, California, Utah, Nevada, and Arizona, fire officials warned against fireworks display, as thousands of firefighters have fought dozens of blazes throughout the region.

By Wednesday, Arizona's Frye and Goodwin forest fires had grown to 47,000 acres and 28,000 acres respectively, while a number of Arizona mountain towns said "no" to traditional fireworks shows, including Prescott, a city near the Goodwin fire.

In Denver, firefighters responded to 29 fires on Tuesday, and paramedics took a two-year-old boy and two adults to hospitals for burn treatment.

Last year, Denver firefighters responded to 35 fires on Independence Day.

The hot, dry weather was a major cause to (this year's) fires, said Denver Fire spokesperson Gregory Pixley.

"We have also seen illegal fireworks activity," Pixley said, noting that one person had been arrested in connection with one of the fires.

Despite the muted outdoor pyrotechnics, millions of Americans enjoyed the day's events.

"July Fourth is when America celebrates its military victory over Great Britain 241 years ago, "said John Yee.

Yee, 96, a history professor in Denver in the 1960s and 1970s, pointed out that the U.S. 1776 victory was against "the superpower of the world at that time," Yee told Xinhua.

"It was against all odds that America beat Britain," Yee said.

Fire officials across Los Angeles warned residents that fireworks used by citizens were illegal, and they would be subject to a 1,000 U.S. dollar fine.

In Los Angeles County alone, officials allowed 32 cities to have individual fireworks shows.

In Seattle, lifetime resident Paula Weibs took her two children to downtown.

Both Gas Works Park and South lake Union Park were filled with thousands of people, as the city hosted two gigantic, day-long parties sponsored by Microsoft, Starbucks and Amazon.

"The nighttime fireworks were amazing," Weibs said. "All out here in Seattle."

In Southern California, Rose Bowl Stadium in the city of Pasadena drew thousands of viewers with a day of music, food, and explosive fireworks in the evening. Other fireworks around Los Angeles occurred at the Hollywood Bowl, an amphitheater in Hollywood, and the Dodger baseball stadium.

In Phoenix, thousands attended an all-day extravaganza inside the gigantic, air-conditioned WestWorld park.

"This is the place to bring your kids," said Franklin Cardona, a resident from the state of Scottsdale.

On Tuesday night, the 300,000 square-foot (about 27,870.9 square-meter), air-conditioned facility was filled with families escaping Tuesday's 111 Fahrenheit (about 43.89 degrees Celsius) temperature to enjoy pony rides, rodeo, stunt dogs, a BMX show (bicycle motocross show) and fireworks.

North of Denver, hundreds of people attended an early pancake breakfast, followed by a bike and dog parades by local Boy Scouts.

"I was born in Mexico, but many Latinos also celebrate America's Independence Day," said Miguel Mendoza, one of the onlookers.

Mendoza, 36, watched the celebration with his two young sons, as fire trucks with red lights flashing moved past people on Northglenn's streets.

"It's very exciting for the kids," Mendoza told Xinhua. "Parades are always fun."