Show will go on, but with drones

The 2018 fireworks show at Westside Daze.

There will be no fireworks this year at Westside Daze, West sa国际传媒sa国际传媒 mid-July free family festival.

Rather than hearing the explosion of fireworks, West sa国际传媒 spectators will hear the hum of 100 drones as they fly in formation to illuminate the night sky with light and colour at the Westside Daze Drone Show brought to you by FireSmart July 13.聽聽

During a time when the community remains on edge after the McDougall Creek wildfire ripped through destroying homes last year, the drone show alternative, unlike fireworks, poses no fire hazard.

Westside Daze had been in talks with West sa国际传媒 Fire Chief Jason Brolund, who discouraged Westside Daze from applying for fireworks this year since the area is still experiencing dry conditions.

鈥淲e鈥檙e doing it out of respect because of what our community went through,鈥 said Tina Bisson, president of the Westside Celebration Society, the group of volunteers that puts together Westside Daze. 鈥淲hat kind of a slap in the face is it to say 鈥楲etsa国际传媒 take a chance and do more fireworks?鈥欌

While Brolund said he enjoys fireworks, he is excited about the alternative this year.

Drone shows have been gaining popularity, with displays wowing spectators at Disney World and the Calgary Stampede.

When it comes to fireworks, Brolund said itsa国际传媒 always a difficult decision that people don鈥檛 necessarily see in the background.

Fireworks have to be purchased well in advance and they鈥檙e expensive.

鈥淥ften, especially in recent years, we find ourselves making a decision the night of the show whether or not we鈥檙e going to allow it to go ahead,鈥 he said.

If the fire hazard is extreme and there are high winds, there are times they may have to say no to that fireworks show at the last minute.

Last year, West sa国际传媒 had to get special permission for its fireworks show from BC Wildfire because they had a ban in place. This year, that ban went in about five weeks ago here, so West sa国际传媒 would be looking for special permission again.

Even though the fireworks in West sa国际传媒 are fired from the water, Brolund said there is still risk associated with the show, including the potential for an accident and unwanted ignition when the fireworks are loaded onto the barge.

Brolund said the biggest factor is If wind carries some of the embers from the fireworks onto the shore.

鈥淚 just think in the bigger context of what our community went through in the last year, it was a really good year to reevaluate and try something else out,鈥 he said.

Not only will the drone show eliminate the risk of fire, but it will also be free of noise, air and water pollution.

FireSmart BC has stepped up to attach their name to the drone show and will share West sa国际传媒sa国际传媒 experience with the show to other municipalities to get them to consider replacing their fireworks.聽聽

鈥淲e鈥檙e going to start something new and itsa国际传媒 really kind of cool,鈥 said Bisson.

鈥淲e鈥檙e passionate about lots of different aspects of FireSmart and we may not be doing a great job if we鈥檙e telling people do all these things, move your wood pile, invest money removing cedar hedges and then we have a big fireworks show when the fire danger is potentially very high,鈥 said Brolund. 鈥淚tsa国际传媒 a great reminder to people.鈥

The drone show will take place at 10:30 p.m. Saturday July 13 over Memorial Park, so people can stay in their seats after the live entertainment.

Brolund noted that this yearsa国际传媒 drone show at Westside Daze doesn鈥檛 spell the end of fireworks in West sa国际传媒 as the city puts on a fireworks show at its Light Up celebration in聽December.

鈥淲e鈥檙e still able to have a fireworks show at a different time of year,鈥 said Brolund. 鈥淎 lot of the factors that are very concerning at this time of year aren鈥檛 present in December.鈥