The following is from Tucson Fire Department Chief Jim Critchley:
This 4th of July there are four commercial fireworks shows which have been permitted. Each show is overseen by a qualified Tucson Fire Department (TFD) Fire Inspector to assure that weather conditions are satisfactory (E.I. winds are <15 mph or rain), that the fall-out is free from persons, and that safe operating practices are used. The assigned inspector has the authority to stop any performance, should conditions warrant. For each of these shows, TFD has enhanced deployment plans for crews assigned to each event; structured to the site's needs and/or characteristics as follows:
At the Kino Sports Complex on Ajo Way, the show is located at a set of virtually non-combustible baseball fields.
At the Starr Pass Marriot (2 shows), a TFD Brush Truck Crew is on site during the performances.
On A-Mountain, TFD wets down and foams the fall-out area in addition to keeping crews on site during the event. Since TFD began wetting down the fall-out area a few years ago, there have been no significant fire issues at this event. There were questions concerning the presence of fast/hot burning buffel grass. Last year several organizations worked together to remove the majority of this grass from the mountain, greatly reducing the fire load.
Our biggest concern during this season are those displays that have not been permitted and the use of Consumer fireworks in dry areas. These illegal activities are of concern because over the last two weeks the Tucson Fire Department has responded to significant brush fires (non-firework related) inside the city limits.