Drought Cancels 3 Suburban Fireworks Shows

Plainfield, Wauconda, and Round Lake fireworks shows have been cancelled due to dry conditions and increased fire risks

By Alexandria Fisher and Kim Vatis
|  Friday, Jun 29, 2012  |  Updated 7:46 PM CDT
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Dry conditions are a concern throughout the area, and those suburbs that haven't canceled their shows are taking extra precautions. Kim Vatis reports.

Dry conditions are a concern throughout the area, and those suburbs that haven't canceled their shows are taking extra precautions. Kim Vatis reports.

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Unusually dry weather has forced three Chicago suburbs to cancel their fireworks displays as a safety precaution, officials announced Thursday.

Plainfield fire and police departments determined the area’s dry ground proved to be too much of a fire hazard for the July 3 display, the village park district posted in a statement on its website. 

“I’d rather be doing this than having someone’s house catch fire,” said Plainfield deputy fire chief Jon Stratton. “Why take a chance?”

Plainfield isn't the only town worried about how the drought will affect its Fourth of July festivities.

 
Wauconda's annual Independence Day fireworks were also postponed Friday because of dry conditions.
 
"Like most people, we were looking forward to a great evening,” Wauconda Mayor Mark F. Knigge said in a statement. “However, with the heightened risk of fire danger, life safety is a top priority at this time.”
 
Wauconda officials were most concerned with the risk of firework landing areas sparking flames into the nearby neighborhoods.
 
The Round Lake Area Park District was the third to cancel its fireworks show because of "extremely hot" conditions. The area instead rescheduled the event for Sept. 2.
 
Plainfield and Wauconda plan to reschedule their fireworks displays, but not until the waterless weather lets up.
 
Dry conditions have proved to be a concern for the whole area, and towns in many Chicago suburbs are taking extra precautions to avoid canceling their fireworks.
 
The village and park district of Tinley Park added a $3,700 rental fee to fireworks expenses for irrigation equipment to help water down firework landing sites, according to Park and Recreations Director John Curran.
 
In Park Ridge, the fire department is monitoring dry conditions to decide whether their popular fireworks show can go on. Fire Chief Michael Zywanski told NBC Chicago "excessively dry" conditions could bring the fireworks display to halt.
 
Despite Thursday's hail storm and showers forecast for the weekend, the National Weather Service reports scorching temps are expected to rise during coming months and little rain is predicted to counteract the heat. That forecast would put Illinois further into drought debt.
 
As drought rates continue to grow in Illinois, the risk of combustion at this year’s Independence Day festivities increases.

“I love the fireworks myself," Stratton said. "I would rather enjoy them at a safer time.”

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