By Wade Coggeshall
— Town officials in Danville and Brownsburg have decided to cancel public fireworks displays associated with their July 4th festivals because of the extremely dry conditions and high temperatures. In Danville's case, their entire July 4th festival has been postponed.
"Our feeling is we don't want to take any chances," said Marcia Lynch, president of the Greater Danville Chamber of Commerce and Danville Town Council.
The festival is conducted on the Danville Community High School football field, near the Clear Creek subdivision.
"The area where we set off the fireworks is all grass and trees," Lynch said. "We just don't want to take a chance under these conditions. We feel like if there's a burn ban, we need to take it seriously."
Hendricks County Commissioners approved an open-ended burn ban earlier this week. Campfires are still permitted, as long as they're within a fire ring. Bonfires and activities like burning brush are illegal for the time being. Engaging in such could result in fines worth hundreds of dollars.
Lynch says she and other town officials did consider that canceling the public fireworks display could result in more residents shooting off their own fireworks.
"That is a concern we have," she said. "Our hope is people will be as cautious as we're being."
Phillip Parnin, director of the Brownsburg Parks and Recreation Department, met with officials from the town's fire and police departments Thursday afternoon to determine whether they should cancel their planned fireworks show on July 4th. They announced the cancellation later that day.
"It's been drier than normal the past couple years, but this is the first time it started in May," Parnin said.
Brownsburg's fireworks are launched from the baseball diamonds at Arbuckle Acres park. The baseball diamonds are generally watered beforehand and officials determine the common areas outside that are currently unsafe for fireworks.
The rest of Brownsburg's July 4th festivities will continue as scheduled. That includes the Lions Club's carnival July 2-7 at Arbuckle Acres and the Fourth of July Parade, which begins 10 a.m. Wednesday on Odell Street.
Hot temperatures were one factor in Danville's decision to cancel its whole July 4th festival. Plus, "We figure the reason people come to the festival is for the fireworks," Lynch said.
Tentative plans are to have the festival sometime over Labor Day Weekend. Since it's on the high school's football field, it will depend in large part on their schedule. If it does happen, it will include everything previously planned, including fireworks.