Drought triggers extra safety precautions at Rose Bowl fireworks

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On Thursday morning, workers with Pyro Spectaculars were outside the Rose Bowl, putting the finishing touches on the stands that would launch 2014 mortar shells into the air for the annual Independence Day fireworks show.

Large fire extinguishers sat close to the separate stations, punctuating the question of how fiery explosives can mesh with the severe drought.

Cities and towns around Southern California have enacted differing levels of restrictions regarding fireworks, with some completely banning sale and possession and others allowing authorized, non-explosive varieties. 

An official with Pyro Spectaculars, which has operated the fireworks show at the site for decades, said that they have done additional testing this year because of safety concerns. 

"We're in Southern California, and the cliché is it's a tinderbox right now. And so that makes us especially aware," said H. Hanson, a spokesman for the company. "The only things that's supposed to get on fire is stuff we light on fire. Nothing else."

Hanson said that he hadn't noticed any restrictions when it comes to the way they've had to operate, nor was he aware of cities canceling their shows over fire concerns. 

He said that professional shows are far more likely to provide a safe experience than amateur enthusiasts. 

"We’re trained, we’re licensed, the fire department has people standing by. We have our people standing by with safety equipment. This is the safe approach,” Hanson said. 

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