Will Drones Replace Your Fourth of July Fireworks?

    Why these Western towns are opting out of pyrotechnics for the latest technology

It’s no surprise that the awe-inducing displays of fireworks that mark our nation’s Independence Day can come with a dose of danger; after all, playing with fire is not a thing for amateurs. But following a year of droughts and devastating wildfires, some states are taking measures to keep 4th of July celebrations super-safe.

Leave it to the West to turn to technology, where many traditional fireworks spectacles will be replaced by choreographed shows featuring hundreds of LED-lit drones.

Though drone displays are a smart move, they’re not entirely brand new. Lady Gaga included a drone show in her Super Bowl performance last year, and Intel has created music-timed drone spectaculars at the buzzy Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival for the past two years. At this year’s Winter Olympics Opening Ceremony in South Korea, Intel ushered in the start of the games with a drone light show using cutting-edge technology and 1,200 drones

Travis Air Force Base, near San Francisco, will host a similar show, inspired by Intel, of 500 drones set to music to celebrate the country’s birthday.  Other cities, like Aspen, Colorado, are working with companies that specialize in drone technology to coordinate patriotic spectacles in the night sky, minus the fire hazard.

Though there’s something special about watching real fireworks, we’re all about disaster prevention. If your area isn’t a risk for wildfires, check out our recommendations on where to catch the best firework spectaculars in the West.