Originally Published: June 27, 2013 6:01 a.m.
PRESCOTT - Despite last week's Doce wildfire that burned 6,767 acres of nearby chaparral, city officials are confident that the annual July 4 fireworks display can go on safely at its traditional Pioneer Park location.
Both Prescott Fire Chief Dan Fraijo and Special Events Manager Becky Karcie said Tuesday that the city's annual celebration and fireworks display are set to go on as planned on July 4.
"We will definitely have (the fireworks), unless there is some major issue," Karcie said.
Fraijo said the fire department would monitor the conditions right up until the 9 p.m. July 4 start of the fireworks.
"If we do cancel the fireworks, it would be at the very last minute," he said. Possible reasons for cancellation: a lightning strike nearby or high winds.
Short of cancellation, Fraijo and Karcie said the city also could instruct the fireworks operator to use smaller mortars, which would not go as high into the air, and would have a smaller span.
Fraijo emphasized that questions often arise about whether the fireworks should go on. And he noted that last year's conditions were also dry in the days before July 4.
"We go through this every year," Fraijo said of the uncertainty about the July 4 fireworks.
Often, monsoon rains on or just before the 4th wash away the fears - as they did last year, when a rainstorm caused temperatures to drop.
The same thing could happen this year. "The indications are pretty good that we might get rain even this weekend," Fraijo said.
Still, he said the city plans take a number of steps to ensure that the fireworks will not spark a wildfire.
"We will have every precaution that we typically have," Fraijo said.
Among the precautions will the usual wetting down of the area surrounding the fireworks. Fraijo said a county water truck would soak the chaparral on the hills near the fireworks staging area at Kuebler Field.
In addition, the fire department will set up an incident command post, including a number of fire officials. Fraijo said he and Fire Marshal Don Devendorf would be on hand, as will Division Chief Eric Kriwer. A fire truck and other fire-prevention staff will also be at the event, although Fraijo was uncertain this week of the total number of staff.
In addition to the fireworks, Karcie said the Pioneer Park celebration would offer its usual array of entertainment options.
Starting at noon and continuing until 10 p.m., the Fourth of July celebration will feature about two-dozen carnival attractions, including a 40-foot-tall water slide and 10 other slides, zip lines, bungee trampolines, a climbing wall, and a preschool area with a small Ferris wheel and mechanical bull.
New this year will be a "ride the orb" attraction featuring plastic orbs that will float in pool of water.
The event also will include a craft booth, where children can decorate a tote bag, straw hats, sunglasses and jewelry. Other features include carnival games, airbrush tattooing, and glitter tattooing.
For entertainment, Karcie said four bands would perform throughout the afternoon and evening, offering a variety of classic rock and folk music.
Also, Karcie said a live freestyle motocross show by ZAO FMX will be going on throughout the day.
Vendors will offer an assortment of food and refreshments, and for the first time, a craft beer and margarita garden will be provided by the Eagles organization.
While admission to the celebration is free, there is a charge for carnival rides and food. Pre-sale carnival wristbands are available for $12 at Prescott City Hall, the Grace Sparks Activity Center, Fry's Food Markets, and Freedom Station. The wristbands will cost $15 at the gate.
Parking is available around the park, at the nearby Yavapai County public works and health department buildings, at the Arizona Motor Vehicle Division, and at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. A free shuttle will transport people from Embry-Riddle to Pioneer Park.
About 10,000 people attended the event last year, Karcie said. She advises pet owners to leave their animals at home.
Pioneer Park is located at 1200 Commerce Drive in northeast Prescott.
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