(SD)-4th Of July Fireworks Returning To Mount Rushmore
KEYSTONE, S.D. (AP) - 4th of July fireworks will return to Mount Rushmore starting next year. South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem, Interior Secretary David Bernhardt, and National Park Service Deputy Director P. Daniel Smith made the announcement Tuesday morning.
Fireworks at Mount Rushmore began in 1999 and small fires were reported nearly every year there were fireworks - up to about 10 in one year - that were quickly extinguished by the 60-80 firefighters pre-positioned in the forest around Mount Rushmore.
Concerns over extremely dry forest conditions led to a poorly-received replacement of fireworks with a laser show in 2002, and fireworks were dropped all together in 2010 after a pine beetle infestation left a large number of dead trees at Mount Rushmore and the adjacent Black Hills National Forest.
Governor Noem says months of meetings and discussions led to the conclusion that between the health of the forest rebounding and advances in pyrotechnic safety that the annual fireworks show could be safely reinstated.
Reinstatement is no guarantee the show will actually go on in any given year. The 2009 show was halted after a just few test shots because clouds and fog obscured them, sharply disappointing the estimate 30,000-plus visitors on hand that night.
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