Fire expert: Mount Rushmore fireworks display ill advised

National News

FILE – This March 22, 2019, file photo shows Mount Rushmore in Keystone, S.D. Organizers have scrapped plans to mandate social distancing during President Donald Trump’s appearance at a July 3, 2020, Mount Rushmore fireworks display and won’t limit the crowd due to coronavirus concerns, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem said Thursday, June 4, 2020. The Republican governor said the National Park Service is dolling out 7,500 tickets via lottery for the event, which marks the first time in a decade that fireworks will be set off at the memorial in recognition of Independence Day. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)

RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) — A fire expert says a fireworks display planned at the Mount Rushmore National Memorial is “ill advised” given the abnormally dry conditions and risk of summer wildfires.

The July 3 event could attract 75,000 people, possibly including President Donald Trump.

Bill Gabbert is the former fire management officer for Mount Rushmore and six other national parks in the region. He says shooting fireworks over the extremely flammable ponderosa pine forest should not be done.

The fireworks display at Mount Rushmore to celebrate Independence Day has not happened since 2009, when it was ended because of fire danger after a pine beetle infestation.

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