US Forest Managers Suggest Swapping Fireworks With Silly String To Celebrate Fourth Of July, Citing Wildfire Danger

A firefighter works the line as flames started by fireworks at a gender reveal party push towards homes during the Creek fire in the Cascadel Woods area of unincorporated Madera County, California on September 7, 2020. (Photo by JOSH EDELSON/AFP via Getty Images)

John Oyewale Contributor
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U.S. Forest Service managers in New Mexico advised the public to replace fireworks with Silly String to celebrate Independence Day to reduce the risk of wildfires, according to a press release.

“As Fourth of July weekend approaches, remember fireworks are illegal on most public lands, and always illegal on National Forest Land no matter what day of the year,” the press release from the US Forest Service in Albuquerque read. Fireworks should be left to professionals, while the general public could “[c]onsider celebrating with safer, alternative methods” such as “[r]ed, white, and blue silly string,” among others. The message was to “Celebrate with One Less Spark.”

Some environmentalists, however, disagreed, finding it “silly that federal land managers would suggest using aerosol cans of sticky party string out in nature,” The Associated Press reported. Rebecca Sobel, organizing director for WildEarth Guardians, a conservation group, voiced concerns about the potentially toxic chemical components of party string and the need for regulators to be transparent about the item’s composition, according to the report. Madeleine Carey, WildEarth Guardians’ Southwest conservation manager, reportedly said Silly String, mylar balloons, noisemakers and glitter are “seemingly fun” but “extremely harmful to our forests and wildlife.” (RELATED: Fire Breaks Out At Famous Hollywood Movie Studio)

Other concerns include damage to vehicle paint, gastrointestinal irritation if ingested by humans and pets and land pollution from the resulting litter, according to the AP news report.

The national wildland fire preparedness level is set at level 2, with several areas experiencing “high to extreme” but manageable fire danger so far, according to the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC). There have been 23,846 wildfires over nearly 1,054 square miles of land since January 2023 and a total of 61,429 human-caused fires compared to 7,467 lightning-caused ones in 2022, the NIFC noted.

George Ducker, a spokesman for the New Mexico State Forestry Division, said the warnings against the use of fireworks would continue, per the AP.