CLEARLAKE OAKS — July of 2018, the Mendocino Complex Fire lit up the skies around Clearlake Oaks, becoming the largest recorded fire in California history.
This July, instead of gathering at evacuation centers, the community came together to celebrate.
“This year’s calmer, it’s better,” one resident told FOX40. “PG&E seems to be working with us. The fire department seems to be keeping up with all of the burn zones and making everybody do what they’re supposed to do to be fire safe this year.”
Once again, the skies lit up over Clearlake Oaks. This time the lights came from a fireworks show presented by Pyro Spectaculars.
A few hours before the show launched Wednesday, FOX40 learned how a community so acquainted with fire can feel safe while fireworks are sent into the sky.
The 270 shells, all 3 inches wide, are loaded by pyrotechnician Steve Wilson and his crew onto a barge that will float hundreds of feet offshore.
“So, the rule is that for every inch of caliber you need to be 70 feet away from buildings and the public, and so on,” Wilson explained. “Since these are threes, they need to be at least 210 feet away from the public.”
Wilson understands what fire victims have been through.
“I live in Redwood Valley. My property was severely affected by the fires a couple years ago,” he said.
He said he won’t even launch a show if it’s too windy out.
“Fires from fireworks are caused by illegal fireworks and by bottle rockets and things like that, that shoot off by people who aren’t being responsible,” Wilson said. “But display operators have to be very responsible. So, it’s extremely rare for a fire to be started by a display.”
So the residents of Clearlake Oaks got to sit back and enjoy the show with much to celebrate.