Fireworks prepped, inspected and ready for A Mountain - Tucson News Now

Fireworks prepped, inspected and ready for A Mountain

A look at some of the 969 total shells that'll be shot into the #tucson sky tonight. (Source: Tucson News Now) A look at some of the 969 total shells that'll be shot into the #tucson sky tonight. (Source: Tucson News Now)
Roughly 140 of those shells are packed into these dumpsters for the #finale. Away from other shells & lit electronically. (Source: Tucson News Now) Roughly 140 of those shells are packed into these dumpsters for the #finale. Away from other shells & lit electronically. (Source: Tucson News Now)
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More than 900 shells of varying sizes and shapes are packed, prepped and ready to rock the southern Arizona sky.

Members of the Tucson Fire Department watched as the team behind the display launching in Tucson worked through the morning and early afternoon.

Fielding Heckendorf, head pyro for the A Mountain display, said most of the work gets done early so that his team can get out of the sun and rest up before showtime.

Nearly 970 shells will make up the 2017 show, according to Heckendorf. Approximately 140 of those are held separate in dumpsters, ignited electronically and dedicated to the finale.

"Tucson likes a big finale, so we will do our best to supply that," he said.

Long before the finale, Roberto Herrera's family is moving their pets out of their home for the night. It's the first Fourth of July living in one of the neighborhoods on A Mountain and they're worried about the noise.

"It depends on the people," said Herrera. "Some people can take the noise, but some people can't. It's just right there."

The homeowners association for their neighborhood posted signs and flyers to keep people from parking on both sides of the street and blocking any access for emergency response vehicles.

Herrera's father said he's keeping an extra fire extinguisher handy just because of the proximity to the launch pad.

On the flip side of that safety precaution, Heckendorf said one of the variables that the crew on A Mountain watch out for its smaller, backyard fireworks that could ride a wind gust into their powerful, professional set-up.

"That could be a safety issue if the wind were to change and the sparks from those were to come up here," he said.

Heckendorf said he hasn't had to deal with any drones slowing down the fireworks displays before, but he couldn't imagine anyone wanting to take the risk.

"I would feel bad," he joked. "Blowing somebody's drone up out of the sky."

Any fireworks heard long after the finale are likely fireworks that were damaged, dudes and unexploded during the show. The process to bring those fireworks back down the mountain is too exhaustive and time-consuming so it's easier and safer to explode them in a controlled situation, according to Tucson Fire Department.

Tuesday's show being at approximately 9:15 p.m. and it's expected to last 20-25 minutes.

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