This July 4 and 24 are expected to have bigger, brighter, louder and more expensive fireworks than past celebrations.

But surprisingly, the increase in price has little to do with the struggling economy and even less to do with the increase in the legal amount of pyrotechnic material allowed this year in consumer fireworks.

The increase in price has to do with an explosion in China that destroyed 20 fireworks warehouses earlier this year. America receives the majority of its fireworks from vendors in China, and the explosion decreased the supply coming in to the United States.

"We are about 20 percent behind what we would have liked to have received for July Fourth," Julie Heckman, Executive Director of the American Pyrotechnics Association said. She also predicted that the shortage in supply has led to a 25 percent increase in wholesale prices.

BYU's Stadium of Fire — which is ranked second by the APA on their list of "the most amazing fireworks display across the country honoring our great nation" — won't be affected this year by the shortage of fireworks or the price hike.

"We pre-order our fireworks a year in advance, so there hasn't been an increase for us this year," explained Brad Pelo, senior executive producer of America's Freedom Festival at Provo.

While Stadium of Fire spectators are expected to be pleased with the display's variety and number of rockets Friday night, the price increase is expected to affect sales of roadside vendors the most.

However, according to the APA, "Backyard fireworks have never been more popular or more in demand. In 2000, Americans used 102 million pounds of backyard fireworks. In 2007, Americans used over 238 million pounds!"

Heckman says she believes the increase in demand of fireworks can be attributed to the proven increase in the safety of fireworks. A study performed by the APA concluded that the fireworks industry has seen a 960 percent increase in consumption per million pounds since 1976 and has simultaneously seen a 91 percent decrease in fireworks-related injuries per 100,000 pounds.

Heckman also believes the increase shows a consumer shift towards patriotism, since Sept. 11, 2001. Consumers bought 126 million pounds of fireworks in 2002, an 18 percent increase from 2001. The previous year's increase was only 5 percent, according to the APA.

While fireworks consumers of all ages are excited for Friday night's festivities, Utah officials warn against misuse. The state fire marshal's office urged residents to comply with state laws and regulations regarding fireworks.

According to the Utah licensed fireworks industry, "most injuries associated with fireworks are principally caused by misuse."

The Salt Lake County Unified Fire Authority also implemented fireworks restrictions for several areas of the county this Independence Day and Pioneer Day. Residents are encouraged to call their city's non-emergency fire department to verify their city's fireworks rules.


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