Fireworks (copy)

The fireworks show at Green Valley Park has been canceled this year.

The town announced last week they have canceled the Fourth of July fireworks show.

A variety of factors influenced the decision, including an increase in coronavirus cases and available resources, said Interim Town Manager Sheila DeSchaaf.

Many Arizona cities and towns had already canceled their fireworks shows when in May the council voted to go forward with purchasing fireworks and putting on a show.

Councilor Barbara Underwood said she had concerns then, but went ahead with the decision because the town was assured it could use the fireworks at a later date.

And that is what the town is exploring.

With the fireworks already ordered, the town could hold a fireworks show in December to coincide with the Electric Light Parade or at another time.

Fire Chief David Staub said from a fire perspective launching fireworks over the lake is safe and there is little risk of a wildfire starting.

What concerned him this year was the increase in coronavirus cases and resources being stretched thin because of other wildfires around the state.

“It is a resource issue,” he said.

Given the number of people the fireworks show attracts each year, the town typically has nearly all police and fire personnel work the event.

“It is an all hands on deck event,” DeSchaaf said.

With the increased risk of exposure to coronavirus she said it wasn’t worth the risk.

“Between wildfires and COVID-19 and other factors and limited resources we felt it was in the best interest of all our residents to cancel,” she said.

Underwood and Councilor Chris Higgins said they agreed with the decision to cancel the fireworks.

“Canceling the fireworks is a good idea right now. With the Bush Fire and our neighbors dealing with evacuation, the spike in COVID cases and to top it off the road closures, it was the prudent thing to do,” Underwood said. “We need to help our neighbors to get through this rough time and pray for our Hotshots and all entities who are working so hard to keep us all safe!”

The town also canceled the fireworks show in 2004 when the Willow Fire charred nearly 120,000 acres and came within four miles of town.

Contact the editor at abechman@payson.com

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(1) comment

Bruce W Heffner

A very wise move by Ms Underwood and the mayor!

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