More than 70,000 people flocked just outside downtown Fort Worth Wednesday night to watch the Panther Island Pavilion fireworks show.
But attendance wasn’t the only testament to the magnitude of the show. The spectacle was so large that the National Weather Service in Fort Worth reported seeing the smoke on their radar.
The pyrotechnics were some of the best in recent memory, according to Matt Oliver with the Trinity River Vision Authority.
“[There were] some shells in the show that I've never seen at a fireworks show before," he told the Star-Telegram. "We also heard great reviews from patrons as they were walking out after the show."
As far as the 70,000 people – roughly the equivalent to the entire population of North Richland Hills – all leaving an event at once? The Fort Worth Police Department spent months working on a traffic plan, Oliver said.
“I would love for it to be a simple in and out for everyone, but when you are talking about this amount of people at a festival, you’re basically talking about parking for a Cowboy game where people expect to have some sort of delay getting out of the lot after a game,” he said.
As with any large event, police said they will debrief with the Trinity River Vision Authority to decide what adjustments went well or if there are tweaks that can be made for next year’s show.
Fort Worth firefighters answered 2,200 calls on fireworks on Independence Day, including almost 80 reports of grass fires. The department was dispatched to 500 calls.
Several counties surrounding Tarrant put disaster declarations in place, effectively banning personal use of fireworks as wildfires burned west of Forth Worth in the days before the July 4 holiday. Tarrant County had put a burn ban in place, but burn bans don’t typically ban the use of fireworks.