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Fireworks in the US have shrunk over decades

Urban sprawl means organisers have to rein it in.

Image: AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin

FIREWORKS SHOWS AREN’T nearly as big as they were just a few decades ago in the USA. Co.DESIGN reports that fireworks are actually shrinking, and blames urban sprawl and tightening regulations on the changes.

While the blasts are smaller, they have also been multiplying. Instead of one big blast, a fireworks show will have up to a dozen smaller blasts for the same price.

The two problems that cause this: expansion of cities and tighter regulations, actually work together. The size of the firework that the pyrotechnicians can fire off into the air depends on how much land around the staging area is cleared off.

The old regulations set 70 feet of area (in a circle around the fireworks launch pad) cleared for each “inch” of shell. (One inch of shell means it will reach 100 feet high). According to Doug Taylor, the president of Zambelli Fireworks, that’s now 100 feet of clearance per inch.

The new regulations plus expanded building in cities makes for smaller shows closer to the ground. But, it does give them extra money to buy more smaller fireworks.

Times, they are a changing. These changes mean smaller, but more dense fireworks shows.

That doesn’t mean that they still don’t come with a health warning though – as these unfortunate people in Simi Valley, California discovered at 4th of July celebrations this week:

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Read more at Co.DESIGN >

- Jennifer Welsh

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