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Yocha Dehe Replaces Fireworks With Drones For Holiday Show

Reimagined aerial display reduces fire risk, environmental impact

With California baking under a years-long drought and the risk of devastating wildfire greater than ever before, the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation opted to forgo fireworks and use a dazzling display of drones for this year's Independence Day celebration Thursday. 

The shift to drones is in keeping with the tribe's ethos of blending ancient cultural practices and new technology to safeguard the environment.

"Having a drone show is safer. In this time of drought in the State of California, we all need to be fire-sensitive, and the tribe is particularly fire-sensitive," said Yocha Dehe Fire Department Chief Rebecca Ramirez.

In addition to eliminating the risk of wildfire caused by fireworks, drone displays reduce or eliminate other environmental impacts, including air pollution and noise pollution that can be particularly troublesome to some people, pets and livestock.

The Yocha Dehe display featured 300 drones, synchronized and choreographed to music. Guests of Cache Creek Casino Resort and Séka Hills who gathered to view the display were treated to both shifting patterns of light and illuminated pictographs telling the story of the tribe's various enterprises.