Trump’s 4th of July Fireworks Show at Mt. Rushmore Could Lead to Wildfires Warn Environmentalists
Donald Trump has not been too concerned about the environment since he has taken office. The man he chose to run the Environmental Protection Agency, Andrew Wheeler, was a former lobbyist who frequently fought against measures intended to protect the environment.
The President, though, is a fan of big events and spectacle. So it’s no surprise that he is planning an Independence Day celebration at Mt. Rushmore, complete with a fireworks display. Former park administrators and environmentalists are warning that the fireworks could lead to wildfires.
The weekend long celebration will also feature a number of Republican fundraising events. The spread of COVID-19 will also be a concern as South Dakota is seeing a spike in cases.
But the biggest concern for the state is the potential for wildfires. Governor Kristi Noem, a Republican, is working with the Trump administration on the event. Her spokesperson, Ian Fury, said in a statement, “We are confident that the Rushmore Fireworks celebration can be conducted safely.”
But people who have worked at the park aren’t so sure. Cheryl Schreier, who spent 9 years as the Superintendent of Mount Rushmore told the Washington Post, “It’s a bad idea based on the wildland fire risk, the impact to the water quality of the memorial, the fact that is going to occur during a pandemic without social distancing guidelines and the emergency evacuation issues.”
Former National Park Service fire management officer, Bill Gabbert, was stronger in his assessment. “My job was to put out the fires,” said Gabbert. Internally in our discussions I recommended that people not shoot fireworks over flammable vegetation. I think it’s insane to explode fireworks over flammable material and ponderosa pine vegetation.”