News » Citydesk

Quieter Fireworks: The (Not So) Big Bang Theory Behind Modern Pyrotechnics

by



It's expected that there will be approximately 14,000 large fireworks displays across the U.S. tonight; and, while the pyrotechnics have become more elaborate over the years, a new trend has taken hold: They're quieter.

Animal advocates couldn't be happier. Lisa Horn, executive director of West Sound Wildlife Shelter on Bainbridge Island, Washington, told The New York Times that loud fireworks scare deer and coyotes onto roads, where they become a hazard to motorists. Pet shelters are also inundated with runaway dogs each year on July 5.

As for people, the World Health Organization says 120 decibels is the pain threshold for sound—a sound volume exceeded by most fireworks.

"They're typically above 150 decibels and can reach up to 170 decibels or more," audiologist Nathan Williams told The Times, adding that children are most vulnerable. 

At England's Fantastic Fireworks, a major supplier to some of the world's biggest fireworks extravaganzas, owners told The Times that "quiet fireworks are now part of everybody's inventory." The trend is catching on. In parts of Europe, quiet fireworks displays are more common. The town of Collecchio, Italy even passed a law in 2015 that requires all fireworks to be quiet.

Across the region, fireworks will light up southwest Idaho, with the area's biggest show at Ann Morrison Park in Boise. Other big shows are promised in Caldwell, Kuna, Melba, Meridian and Nampa, as well as the popular resort communities of McCall, Sun Valley and Tamarack.