As brush fires continue to burn out of control across Orlando, a lot of blame is now being put on the fireworks that Walt Disney World parks shoot high into the air on a nightly basis. April is usually the start of the rainy season in Orlando, but there has been very little precipitation at all. The dry ground is causing brush fires to pop up at an alarming rate, and Disney’s Hollywood Studios has been at fault on a few occasions.
For weeks, smoke has filled the air in different parts of Orlando as brush fires have burned out of control, with emergency workers battling them for hours and days. The dry weather and extreme heat have been huge factors in the fires being so wild, but other matters are coming into play.
According to the Orlando Sentinel, a new staging area at Disney’s Hollywood Studios has been a major factor in brush fires this year. Every night, Star Wars – A Galactic Spectacular shoots fireworks high into the air, and the nearby woods are not mixing well with them.
Reedy Creek Fire & Rescue, the district controlled by Walt Disney World, states that the new staging area is “in the woods and they didn’t clear enough land.” Tim Stromsnes is the president of Reedy Creek, and he states that more sprinklers are needed for the area, which has seen close to 30 brush fires in the last two months.
“It’s taxing our staff. We’ve been out there for hours upon hours with multiple fires going on”
WESH has pointed out that there is currently a burn ban in place for all of Central Florida due to the dry conditions. Disney has banned campfires on the property during this time, and charcoal grills are also prohibited. However, fireworks are often granted special permits.
Stromsnes says that pyrotechnics are fine, but Disney needs “to do more prevention” when they’re shooting off the fireworks. While Disney has not made a comment directly regarding the brush fires, they have released a number of statements in reference to their fireworks shot off each night.
The statements from Disney did say that they “modify fireworks shows, including the type, size, and quantity of fireworks used based on weather conditions.” Many people at the Magic Kingdom have said that lately, the Wishes nighttime show has seemed different, with particular fireworks missing from the line-up.
Those who go to the Magic Kingdom at night will notice numerous areas around the park become drenched in water even if it hasn’t rained at all. That water is from the sprinkler system spread around the park and situated on the sides and tops of buildings to extinguish any sparks that might land from the fireworks.
In 17 years, the state has only been called out twice due to fires started by the fireworks at the Magic Kingdom and those were both in March of 2007. Florida Forest Service records show that the fireworks at Disney’s Hollywood Studios have had them come out three times since June of 2016.
As reported by WFTV, Stromsnes believes the same sprinkler system in place Magic Kingdom should be in place at Hollywood Studios. At this time, the fireworks shows will continue and there has been no discussion of postponing or canceling them.
Back in 1998, wildfires in Central Florida did cause Disney to suspend fireworks and cancel nightly shows for some time.
Walt Disney World has taken a number of precautions when it comes to the safety measures for their fireworks displays, but there can always be more. The lack of rain and extreme heat in Orlando is causing many brush fires to not only start up but spread out of control in mere moments. Emergency workers are doing everything possible to keep them under control, but Disney’s Hollywood Studios may have to look into making sure that fireworks don’t start another.
[Featured Image by Disney]