Fireworks return to Bass Lake on the July 4, 2016

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The Madera County Fire Marshal said last week that Bass Lake’s July 4 fireworks display can return this year, after it was replaced by a laser light show in 2015 due to the low level of the lake and dead trees.

Deborah Keenan-Mahler said she received a letter from Pyro Spectaculars May 31 that the company will change its ‘grand finale’ fireworks from a maximum height of 1,000 feet to 500 feet, in order to meet her office’s added precautions.

That letter was the last document needed for approval by her office, which has the final say.

The lowered aerial height of the fireworks is due to the many dead trees around the lake, ravaged by bark beetle infestations during California’s ongoing drought, Keenan-Mahler said.

“There will be a few extra engines set up as well,” Kennan-Mahler said. “Our primary concern is how with all the dead trees, a spark from those higher fireworks has more of a chance of starting a fire, so we added these precautions this year to stay safe.”

Keenan-Mahler added state law requires fire equipment be available for ‘emergency standby’ in the case of a large fire.

“If there’s a large fire in Mariposa County, and all our resources have been stripped from Madera to go fight that fire, we won’t be able to do the show,” Keenan-Mahler said. “But obviously we don’t want that to happen. And I think it will be a pleasant surprise for everyone, just being able to have the fireworks this year.”

By Mark Evan Smith

Sierra Star