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Heat, crackdown on illegal fireworks help reduce smoke after Fourth of July

Illegal fireworks seized by the Glendale Police Department in June 2024.
Glendale Police Department
Illegal fireworks seized by the Glendale Police Department in June 2024.

Valley residents are experiencing less smoky air than usual following this year’s Independence Day celebrations.

According to the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality, the amount of particulates in the air is at its fourth lowest for this holiday since 2010.

Some cities sent out notices before the holiday, cracking down on the use of illegal fireworks. Things like sparklers and spinners are allowed, but anything that shoots up into the air is illegal.

Matt Pace, an air quality meteorologist with ADEQ, said smoke levels could be lower because of that, but it’s more likely because of the hot weather.

“If you stepped outside [Thursday] night, you knew it was hot and that smoke is able to disperse over a much larger area, compared to what we see on January 1st – New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day – when all of that smoke gets trapped right down near the surface resulting in extremely high levels of smoke," Pace said.

ADEQ issued an Ozone High Pollution Advisory for Friday and Saturday, but that was unrelated to fireworks. The Chandler Police Department also reported fewer calls for illegal fireworks this year, compared to last year.

“We saw a brief increase in smoke levels as people were releasing fireworks," Pace said. "However, we did have some winds that moved through the Valley overnight and that cleared things out really nicely."

How to find a lost pet after July Fourth

Fireworks make this time of year one of the busiest for Maricopa County Animal Care and Control from the resulting increase in lost and stray pets.

Kim Powell is with the agency. She says people should first look around their neighborhood for a lost pet, as they often don’t get very far.

And when all else fails, Powell says to visit County Animal Control.

"Come to our shelter, come to our lost and found division, and we’ll make sure we get that lost pet report filed. Make sure your dog is up on the stray map tool. You can do all that at home as well, but we highly recommend coming into the shelter in person, that way you can see the lost dogs that we have," she said.

Powell said the shelter often receives up to 20 more animals than normal in the days following the 4th of July.

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Senior field correspondent Bridget Dowd has a bachelor’s degree from Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.
Greg Hahne started as a news intern at KJZZ in 2020 and returned as a field correspondent in 2021. He learned his love for radio by joining Arizona State University's Blaze Radio, where he worked on the production team.