The “Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular” fireworks at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, which premiered a little less than a year ago, has been creating a large amount of brush fires and extra work for emergency workers.
Tim Stromsnes, president of the Reedy Creek Fire & Rescue IAFF Local 2117, says that its Disney’s new staging area for the fireworks that is contributing to the issue. “The problem here is it’s a new site in the woods and they didn’t clear enough land”. The area also needs more sprinklers, he said.
Reedy Creek is the taxing district controlled by Walt Disney World which provides government services to the resort.
“It’s taxing our staff,” Stromsnes said. “We’ve been out there for hours upon hours with multiple fires going on” — about 30 in the past two months.
Orange county has already issued a temporary burn ban due to the extremely dry conditions. This burn ban forbids the use or discharge of fireworks “exclusive of permitted aerial fireworks shows” such as the theme parks put on, Orange County Fire Rescue spokeswoman Kat Kennedy said.
Reedy Creek administrators declined to answer if anything about the site was going to be altered and referred questions to Disney. When asked if Reedy Creek had any suggestions for changes, the district said it “routinely has conversations with Disney and the other operators within the District about the impact, if any, of their various activities.” Disney has given no information on whether any changes are being planned for the fireworks staging area but said that it continuously changes fireworks shows including the size, type, and quantity used based on weather conditions.
In order to comply with the burn ban Disney World has suspended campfires at its resorts.
“How can people not cook hot dogs and hamburgers and have a fire at Fort Wilderness, but can keep shooting off fireworks and causing multiple brush fires?” Stromsnes said. He’s not opposed to the pyrotechnics, he said, but more should be done to mitigate the fire danger.
In late March of this year the state Division of Forestry assisted in containing a fire. This blaze, started by fireworks on the property, burned up to an acre and a half.
“The firemen are always out there just in case. It happens,” said Duncan Dickson, a former executive at the resort who now teaches at the University of Central Florida’s Rosen College of Hospitality Management. “Most of the time the sparks, the fireworks are out by the time they hit the ground, but you do have times when they aren’t.”
Nighttime show fireworks are the cornerstone to Disney’s live entertainment. Removing them from the park’s daily schedule would cause guests great pain. But can we ignore these safety hazards during this time of extremely dry conditions?
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Source Credit : Orlando Sentinel
Photo Credit: WDW Info
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