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Fireworks, drone events set across San Diego for July 4th

The Fourth of July is almost here, and so are the fireworks that come with the day. KPBS reporter Jacob Aere says some San Diegans are celebrating the day with a new type of light show.

There will be no shortage of fireworks to see this Independence Day across San Diego County.

The Big Bay boom is back and so are many other fireworks events across the county. But fire officials warn people not to stage their own shows with illegal fireworks.

“If they want to see fireworks, please go to one of the shows,” Cal Fire San Diego Capt. Neil Czapinski said. “They're all over the county on the Fourth of July. It’s a safe way to spend time with your family.”


The holiday doesn't come without its fire risks, he said.

“This time of year down here in San Diego, like we like to say, is usually in a year-round fire season," Czapinski said. "And we just had a really hot week last week (that) dried things out. And we did have some fires down on the border and around the county. So the danger is always there.”

Fireworks of any kind, including even small firecrackers, are commonplace, but illegal in the city and county of San Diego.

“In San Diego County specifically, all fireworks are illegal,” Czapinski reiterated. “So any of the ones that you do see are actually not supposed to be happening unless it’s at a registered show.”

One company looking to change the traditional fireworks celebrations is teaming up with the city of Imperial Beach for a high-tech drone show.


It’ll be staged from the pier and synchronized to music with dozens of drones lighting the sky.

“There’s even a new drone showdown in Imperial Beach that doesn't have any fireworks," Czapinski said. "You don't have to listen to any of the noise if that's a concern for you or your pets, or maybe some of your younger family members.”

The company hosting the drone event is called Verge Aero. CEO Nils Thorjussen said they are hosting four drone events across the country this July 4th and roughly 200 drones will be used in the Imperial Beach show.

Thorjussen added that drone shows are a safe alternative to fireworks in fire-prone areas, as well as being a better option for some people with PTSD.

While many July 4th events are back in full swing, a few are not.

Ocean Beach’s annual Fourth of July fireworks celebration off the pier will not be happening for the third year in a row, due to the pier's poor condition. Nor will the fireworks show at Camp Pendleton, due to what the Marine Corps said are "circumstances beyond our control."

The Mira Mesa Town Council's show was also canceled because Mira Mesa High School fields are under construction.