The red glare of rockets will be missing from scores of Independence Day celebrations tonight, Reuters finds. Dry conditions and record-breaking heat have turned much of America into a tinderbox and caused many communities—particularly those in the West—to cancel their annual fireworks displays. "All it would take is one spark from a shell to get away, and it could go everywhere," says the mayor of Douglas, Wyoming, which has axed its display for the first time in, well, as long as anyone can remember. "It's the better part of valor not to do it."
Gov. John Hickenlooper has prohibited the private use of fireworks in Colorado, which has now lost 600 homes to wildfires, while New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez is calling for the passage of a law that would give the governor and local government the power to ban fireworks. Further east, more than a million people are still without power amid sweltering temperatures. But in Washington, DC, one of the worst-hit cities, the huge annual fireworks party on the National Mall will go ahead as planned tonight, the National Park Service says.