The Sonoma Volunteer Firefighters‘ Association distributed this letter last month:
Dear fellow Sonoma Valley Residents:
This year, the members of the Sonoma Volunteer Firefighters Association are excited to bring back a modified July 4: Fireworks celebration – a beloved community event that was necessarily canceled last year due to the COVID–19 pandemic. The willingness of our community to get vaccinated and follow health guidelines has led to tremendous progress in our fight against COVID these past few months and we have every reason to believe that things will continue to improve. We‘re excited for this opportunity to celebrate the gains we‘ve made after a really rough 16+ months for all of us.
We‘ve all had our lives disrupted, activities impacted, family and friends affected, and certainly, for our first responders, we have seen far too much harm and suffering related to COVID–19. In December and January, our medical calls nearly always involved someone suffering from COVID–19. We worried about our patients, ourselves, our colleagues and our families.
In part, that‘s why we were so happy to help with the Sonoma Valley Health Partners to vaccinate thousands of Valley residents in February and March. These Saturdays and Sundays when ordinarily we‘d be able to take time off were worked with enthusiasm and celebration, as each shot signaled that one more person was safe.
While we are heartened to hear from so many of you that are eager for the return of our fireworks display, we have also heard, understand and acknowledge those who have concerns about the show. Noise from fireworks can cause distress for our veterans, those with sensory sensitivities and pets. Fireworks shows in the past have brought in large crowds. We‘re in a drought with an early start to fire season. We take these concerns very seriously.
Please know that our experienced team is committed to safely putting on a Fireworks show, and has done this through many droughts in the past. This year, we‘ll use reclaimed water to dampen the area around the display area. We have acquired fireworks that will launch higher in the sky so they will be enjoyed from a safe distance and discourage crowds. We‘ll continue to communicate details of the event including the time and duration to better prepare those who are sensitive to the noise. As we do every year, we‘ll use our utmost diligence regarding the wind and weather, watching both to make sure we can safely launch fireworks.
Wishing everyone a very happy and safe 4th of July!
— Tom Deely, President Sonoma Volunteer Firefighters Association