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Tucson, towns to hold large Fourth of July firework celebrations

Tucson and some surrounding areas will be holding fireworks celebrations for the Fourth of July weekend, despite the high fire danger and blazes from fireworks on A Mountain in previous years.

Tucson’s 24th annual A Mountain Firework Celebration is set for 9:15 p.m. on July 4, but Sentinel Peak Park will close at 6 p.m. the day before to allow for set-up. The park will reopen Monday, July 5 at sunrise — the normal opening time.

Mission Road will be closed starting at 5 p.m. on July 4, from Starr Pass Boulevard to Congress Street and will reopen one hour after the fireworks show has ended.

Interstate 10 eastbound exits to Congress and Star Pass and I-10 westbound exits at Silverlake and Congress will be closed from 9-11 p.m. to ease road congestion.

Additional information closer to the day of the celebration can be found on social media and at https://www.tucsonaz.gov/home/announcement/4th-july-fireworks.

A Mountain’s 2017 fireworks fire

The most recent serious fire on A Mountain sparked by a fireworks display was in 2017. The bush fire blazed through five acres of the southern slope of Sentinel Peak, as sparks from fireworks landed on the invasive buffelgrass plants that have taken root on the mountain's slopes. That fire-adapted species relies in part on wildfires to spread new plants.

The 2017 Sentinel Peak fire killed almost half of the 274 saguaros that were burned in that fire, as reported in 2020 by the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum.

The fire led to a new spread of buffelgrass in the burned area, invading the once saguaro-filled slope and now preventing the slow-growing cacti from being able to spread.

Fireworks parking

For Tucson's fireworks celebration this year, there will be free parking at the Tucson Convention Center Parking Lot B off of Cushing Street. City officials recommend allowing additional time to arrive and leave because there is a single entrance and exit to that lot.

There are also some free parking spots available in Parking Lot C, off of Granada, although they are limited due to construction. The newly constructed Parking Lot A will be closed.

Additional free parking can be found at the parking meters downtown and the city/state garage on Congress Street, though the latter does not permit tailgating. The Mercado District south of Congress has $5 parking available in its lots.

Parking garages at the University of Arizona, often crowded with fireworks-watchers in other years, will be closed Sunday night, officials said.

The Sun Link streetcar stops near the Tucson Convention Center at Cushing Street and Mercado District stops and will run approximately 30 minutes after the end of the fireworks show.

Bus riders can transfer to the Sun Link from Ronstadt Transit Center, or take Route 2 or 12 to Main/Simpson near the Convention Center, or Route 21 to Congress near the Mercado.

All transit is currently free for Tucson and Pima County. Masks are still required to ride the bus or streetcar.

Oro Valley will be holding its own firework show in Naranja Park at 9 p.m.. The park will be closed to the public beginning at 10 a.m. July 4, including the playground, sports fields, dog parks, archery facilities, trails and ridges.

The Oro Valley firework show will also be livestreamed on the town government's Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/orovalleyazgov.

Marana will be holding its “Star Spangled Spectacular” at the Crossroads at Silverbell District Park. The event, starting at 5 p.m., will have 25 food vendors on-site, although outside food, drinks and coolers are permitted.

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The town of Sahuarita will be hosting a “Red, White & Boom” fireworks event at the Sahuarita Lake Park from 6-9 p.m. on Saturday, July 3. The event will have music, food trucks and kid activities. Smoking, alcohol and dogs are prohibited.

Sahuarita shuttles will run from Anza Trail Park and the Rancho Sahuarita Dirt Lot; Disabled parking will be available at Rancho Sahuarita Clubhouse parking lot.

Sahuarita fireworks will go off at 8:30 p.m. and can also be viewed from North Santa Cruz Park and Anza Trail Park sports fields.

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Curtis Dutiel/TucsonSentinel.com

A 2014 fireworks display over Downtown Tucson.