The Explosive Truth About Fireworks

Leslie Bythewood
2 min readJul 4, 2021


Whether we like it or not, the explosive truth about all those colorful, dazzling fireworks is they’re dangerous and contribute that much more to global warming.

Case in point: both Ocean City, Md Fourth of July shows had to be canceled this year after a fireworks display exploded prematurely, causing minor injuries. The accident happened around 10:15 Sunday morning when fireworks close to a truck parked on the beach had ignited accidentally, causing the whole truckload of fireworks to explode and shoot fireworks off in all directions, according to bystanders. Thank goodness, the injuries were not serious and required no hospitalization, but all of that could have been easily avoided if the show had not been allowed to go on in the first place.

But aside from fireworks accidents beyond our control, think of the number of domesticated and undomesticated animals — birds, ferrets, squirrels, raccoons, foxes, wolves, deer, mountain lions, cats, dogs, rabbits — that are scared to death of fireworks. Their hearing is also a thousand-fold more sensitive than that of humans, so they hear explosions far more acutely than we do.

If only we could figure out a way to set off fireworks without heating up the planet, wouldn’t that be grand? But the truth is, that won’t ever be physically possible. In the meantime, the world is already suffering from the effects of global warming from many other sources.

No offense to pyrotechnic experts and no intention of spoiling the fun for those who like to see fireworks shows in person, but there’s got to be a safer way to give them what they want without the inherent risk.

Instead of doing what we always do every time the Fourth of July comes around, why don’t we get some creative people to make a series of orchestrated shows out of fireworks, much like the Parisians do every July 14 — the date of the storming of the Bastille in 1789 — then tape the shows for posterity? In other words, set off the fireworks in syncopation with whatever the consumer’s choice of music is, then sell the video disks on and get paid for their creative efforts?

Believe it or not, ten percent of the population, that’s one in ten people, despise fireworks, finding the spectacle to be a public nuisance and a colossal noisemaker that disrupts their solitude every year. While those people might be labeled totally un-American for not wanting to celebrate this country’s independence in style, perhaps they have grown up, don’t need all the pomp and circumstance anymore, have come to their senses, and realize the planet would be so much healthier if we didn’t set off technicolor explosives for a change.

Fireworks are really nothing more than improvised explosive devices that have been manufactured in a factory under strict standards, guidelines, regulations and specifications.

But as everyone knows, all it takes is one poorly made or improperly made firecracker to cause permanent injury to pyrotechnic experts or bystanders in the form of hearing loss, loss of a limb, or eye loss.



Leslie Bythewood

A freelance writer since 1999, I've published profile and general-interest pieces in The Montgomery Gazette, both online and in print. I live in Asheville, NC.