President Trump said on Wednesday that fireworks will resume at Mount Rushmore for Independence Day this year – a decade after the display was banned due to fire risk.
“We’re going to do a big fireworks display … Mount Rushmore,” Trump said at a signing ceremony on Wednesday for a trade deal with China. “I think I’m going to try and be there July 4th.”
President Trump: “We’re going to do a big fireworks display, right, Mount Rushmore… They haven’t been there for like 20 years. I said, ‘Why?’ Environmental reasons. I said, ‘You can’t have fireworks for environmental reasons?… What can burn? It’s stone.'” pic.twitter.com/oAN4TtpiGh
— The Hill (@thehill) January 15, 2020
The fireworks were banned in 2009 due to high fire risk resulting from pine beetle infestations causing trees to become highly flammable.
Trump said “environmental reasons” were cited for discontinuing the fireworks.
“What can burn? It’s stone,” Trump said of the fire concerns.
“I called up our people and in 15 minutes got it approved and we will have the first fireworks display at Mount Rushmore, and I will try and get out there if I can,” Trump said.
Trump did not reveal when the phone call took place. However, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem – whom Trump addressed during his brief remarks on Wednesday – had announced in May 2019 that the fireworks would be returning, and credited President Trump for the move.
“We are excited and honored to see fireworks return to our nation’s Shrine of Democracy,” Noem said in a press release. “We are grateful to President Trump and Interior Secretary Bernhardt for helping us make this happen.”
“When the fireworks were previously held at Mount Rushmore, the show was beamed around the globe via satellite. The entire world was able to view a celebration of our nation’s freedoms from the majestic memorial and the beautiful Black Hills of South Dakota,” Noem also said at the time.
“There is no more fitting place in all the nation to celebrate our democracy than from Mount Rushmore,” she added.
A video below from the South Dakota Department of Tourism shows a massive finale to the fireworks display in 2008.
The press release also said the Black Hills National Forest surrounding Mt. Rushmore had “gained strength” and that “advancements in pyrotechnics” would pave the way for a safe fireworks display in 2020.