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Local Fireworks Displays Go On Despite High Temperatures and Lack of Rainfall

Many communities in Arkansas have cancelled their annual 4thof July fireworks displays this year because of the high heat, low humidity and lack of rainfall.  But Southwest Missouri communities are going ahead with plans for fireworks displays this weekend.

Republic is hosting its “Have a Blast” celebration starting at 6 tonight (6/29) at JR Martin Park.  The event will offer music, food, family entertainment and fireworks.

Jared Keeling is parks and recreation director for the City of Republic.  He says they have plans in place to deal with a fire should one start…

"Our fire department, our police chief Duane Compton has been tremendously proactive in this whether that be watering down the grounds.  He's gonna have three units on standby.  I mean, obviously, with this dry, we anticipate we may have one, but the good thing about our shoot site is, it's divided by railway from the crowd, so we'll have the shoot site across the railway and then we'll have  two or three fire trucks and apparatuses over there to be able to get on it right away."

Willard is hosting Freedom Fest 2012 tomorrow night (6/30).  A car show starts at noon and a parade at 6.  Festivities start at 7:15 behind Willard Intermediate School, and a fireworks show begins at 9:45.

Keven McDonald, parks director for the City of Willard, says they’re ready if fireworks should spark a fire…

"The fire department is gonna have a brush truck that is present that's gonna be set up right where the fireworks are being lit off, so if there are any issues, they'll be able to catch it right away to prevent it.  Also, there's a big gap between where the fireworks are lit off and where we let participants come and watch the fireworks, so if something does happen, the fire department can handle it fairly quickly before it spreads because they're on hand, and actually the fire department participates in our parade that we do, which is right before the event, so they pretty much get all their vehicles in that parade, so the fire department, police department will have a lot of personnel on hand."

McDonald says they’re also taking steps to try to prevent anyone in the crowd from suffering a heat-related illness.  They’ll have free water available at various water stations, and misters will be set up around the site where the celebration will take place.