July 4, 2018 5:33 pm
Updated: July 5, 2018 12:42 pm

Phasing out fireworks? North American cities opt for drones, ‘quiet fireworks’

WATCH: How are fireworks made, and what determines their colour, shape, and style?

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Several major cities in North America are ditching traditional fireworks displays that are a staple for Canada Day and Fourth of July celebrations.

Instead, they are opting for alternate light shows that are more animal- and environmentally-friendly.

WATCH: The Town of Banff opted for a quieter version of fireworks this Canada Day, which were supposed to be better for the environment

Banff was among the Canadian towns this year that said no to fireworks, and instead held what they described as a “pyrotechnics show” or “quiet fireworks.”

The show looked similar to fireworks but wasn’t as loud, the city explained to Global News in an email.

The decision was made in February by the city council to phase out fireworks, in order to protect animals — both wildlife and pets — that often become frightened by loud fireworks.

WATCH: Winter Olympics 2018 in Pyeongchang concludes with captivating fireworks display

Other environmental impacts such as air and water pollution were also considered, a city council report read.

The move was praised by animal advocacy organization PETA, which announced Thursday Banff would receive its “Compassionate Town Award.”

WATCH: Dog dies after being spooked by fireworks


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“PETA is calling on cities around the world to follow Banff’s lead and switch to breathtaking quieter pyrotechnics displays that offer all the flash without the bang of traditional fireworks,” PETA president Ingrid Newkirk said in a news release.

PETA has long been advocating that cities ditch fireworks for the dangers they pose to animals.

“Many dogs and cats flee in fear from their deafening blasts,” the organization explains on its website. “Animals become confused and panicked, and shelters see a spike in the number of admissions after fireworks displays.”

PETA adds that animals who flee can become lost and even injured by cars.

Fireworks also have similar adverse effects on wildlife such as birds and deer.

READ MORE: 600 fireworks explode from Dodge Charger’s trunk on New Year’s Eve

But protecting animals isn’t the only reason why cities are opting against fireworks.

Many cities in U.S. states such as California, Arizona and Colorado aren’t using traditional fireworks this July 4 over wildfire fears.

Instead, they’ll have light shows put on by drones this year.

Fairfield, Calif. will have a display of about 500 Intel drones, according to CNN affiliate KTXL.

Drones in the formation of the Olympic rings fly over the Medals Plaza in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Feb. 18, 2018.

Kim Hong-Ji/Reuters

Intel drones are essentially LED lights with propellers and sensors. Computers control where they fly and how they light up.

The company explained in a press release that similar drone shows have already been seen at music festivals such as Coachella and the 2017 Super Bowl halftime show.

The drones were also used at the opening ceremony of the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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