Drones replace 4th of July fireworks at LA-area celebrations

A Southern California gears up to celebrate the United States' 247th birthday, many are searching for the traditional fireworks show this 4th of July. And, while there will be many fireworks shows across Southern California, several celebrations in Los Angeles will be opting for a more environmentally friendly drone show instead.

The first of the LA drone shows took place in Lake View Terrace Sunday night. The festivities at Hansen Dam returned last year after several years of cancelations due to the COVID-19 pandemic, going drone-only in 2022. The change was spearheaded by City Councilmember Monica Rodriguez, who represents the northeast San Fernando Valley. 

"This is the new normal," Rodriguez said regarding the shift last year "We have to shift how we celebrate."

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Rodriguez's office also said that drones are safer than fireworks — especially in high fire hazard areas — minimize air pollution, and prevent unnecessary stress to veterans, children and animals.

Then in downtown LA, the county's biggest free 4th of July celebration is going firework-less for the first time ever this year. The show will span six blocks on Tuesday, including Gloria Molina Grand Park. That celebration is scheduled to begin at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, the the drone show scheduled for 9 p.m.

In addition to being illegal in the city of Los Angeles, fireworks are also illegal in all unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County. The city collected more than 300 pounds of illegal fireworks at a buyback in Mission Hills Saturday.