An old Healdsburg show. (Photo: Christian Kallen/Tribune)

The City of Healdsburg has canceled its fireworks show this Fourth of July, thanks to this especially fire-friendly heat wave passing through.

The show was going to be staged at Healdsburg High School, per usual. City officials promised it would be “bigger and better than ever” in 2024. Because they planned to block off the high school sports fields this year “to ensure everyone’s safety,” they said they wanted the fireworks to be easily viewable all across town, “with most fireworks reaching heights of 200 feet and beyond.”

But that’s all moot now. Here’s the full text of the city’s Wednesday-afternoon announcement about why they’re shutting down the Thursday-night show:

Due to current fire weather conditions in the region, we have made the difficult decision not to move forward with the fireworks show scheduled for the evening of the 4th.

With a red flag warning in place for parts of Sonoma County and multiple active fire incidents in the region, we have concluded that we can’t proceed with sufficient confidence that the safety of the community will be protected. There are several new and growing wildfires burning in Northern California that are requiring the support of regional resources. That means that those resources may not be available if an incident were to occur locally. Looking at the totality of the conditions, we believe this is the best course of action for Healdsburg.

We know this may be disappointing to some, but the safety of our community is our top priority.

As a reminder, all fireworks are prohibited in the City of Healdsburg. 

Healdsburg Police and Fire are upstaffing their departments with additional coverage and conducting extra patrols to ensure the safety of our community.

Don’t forget, there are other great opportunities to celebrate the 4th of July, including the Kids Parade and Duck Dash on the Plaza from 10:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. the annual pancake breakfast at the Villa from 7:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. and the Prune Packers baseball game at 6:00 p.m. at Rec Park!

The City of Healdsburg wishes you a happy, safe and wonderful 4th of July! 

No word yet on whether the City of Healdsburg and our local American Legion chapter plan to reschedule the show, or — if not — what they plan to do with the firework stockpile, or the money.

Yesterday afternoon, two other towns over in Napa County, where the “red flag warning” was in full effect, were the first to cancel their Fourth of July fireworks shows: St. Helena and Yountville. Which means there will be no official fireworks at all in the Napa Valley this year, since the City of Napa switched to a flying drone show.

(Basically, 400 little drones with lights on them will be making shapes in the sky. Napa city leaders decided a few months ago to switch to this ultra-modern, non-flammable option — for precisely the same reason we’re now all worried about the traditional route.)

Over here in Sonoma County, however, I haven’t heard of any other fireworks shows getting canceled, aside from Healdsburg’s.

Officials in the Town of Windsor decided to go ahead with their annual Third of July fireworks show tonight, called “Kaboom.” Same with the City of Sebastopol, which shares the Third of July tradition.

And the cities of Rohnert ParkPetalumaSonoma and Cloverdale all have fireworks shows planned tomorrow, with no word yet of any cancelations.

However! There was one other change up in Cloverdale, where I just learned that civilians are still allowed to buy fireworks and set them off on the Fourth, under a program called “Safe and Sane.” But this year, the program was paused one day in by Cloverdale city leaders, due to the weather. (To be clear, though, the official fireworks show at Cloverdale High School tomorrow night is still a go, as of this writing.)

The Press Democrat reported yesterday: “Sales and use of legal fireworks are being suspended in Cloverdale due to unsafe weather conditions that are raising concerns of wildfires, city officials announced Tuesday. The sudden announcement, which comes just two days before Independence Day, is a major about-face for the lone place in Sonoma County where sales and use of so-called ‘safe and sane’ fireworks are allowed. Those sales had just begun on Monday.”

Cloverdale Mayor Todd Lands wrote a long, heartfelt post on Facebook about the city’s decision. He called it “one of the hardest decisions I/we have had to make in a very long time.”

The mayor continued: “I love fireworks, I love our freedoms, and I love supporting the rights and choices of our voters. However, the National Weather Service is showing three major weather issues happening at once on July 4th. Extreme hot weather, low humidity, and most importantly, high wind gusts of 30+mph. Because of all three, we have made the decision to suspend the sale and use of Safe and Sane fireworks for this holiday. Only for this holiday! The risk is too high. This decision had nothing to do with the complaints on social media, the Chicken Littles that send me emails telling me I am going to destroy Cloverdale, or anything other than informed leadership that has to make the hard choices at times. … I am looking forward to finding a safe time to use the fireworks that were purchased, looking for more opportunities to sell and use fireworks, like New Years, and cannot wait to have them back next year for Independence Day 2025!”

There are also a bunch more Fourth of July events going on in Sonoma and Napa counties this week and weekend that don’t involve fire, of course. Some of them even involve bodies of water; hallelujah. Here’s an event roundup I created for the North Bay Bohemian yesterday.

And here’s more background on Healdsburg’s local Independence Day traditions from Christian Kallen, editor of the Healdsburg Tribune.

Previous articleFireworks Canceled for Healdsburg Independence Day
Next articleHealdsburg’s Memorial Beach Now Open for Summer
Simone Wilson was born and raised in Healdsburg, CA, where she was the editor of the Healdsburg High School Hound's Bark. She has since worked as a local journalist for publications in San Diego, Los Angeles, New York City and the Middle East. Simone is now a senior product manager and staff writer for the Healdsburg Tribune.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here