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Officials cancel fireworks show in Tuolumne County citing drought conditions

The annual fireworks show typically takes place at Lake Don Pedro on the weekend leading to Independence Day.

STOCKTON, Calif. — With dry ground now marking the natural rim where the waters of northern California's Lake Don Pedro once flowed, the signs of the state's worsening drought crisis are clear in Tuolumne County where the Don Pedro Reservoir still attracts visitors from across the state.

An annual fireworks show event at the reservoir, however, will not be attracting the usual Independence Day crowds after organizers called it off citing drought concerns. 

"Now in our third year of drought conditions, we have had to make the unfortunate decision to not host the annual fireworks show this year," The Don Pedro Recreation Agency said in a statement. "The safety of our guests and being good stewards of the land entrusted to us are our highest priorities."

As of Thursday according to the U.S. Drought Monitor, 60% of California is in a state of extreme drought and 12% is in a state of exceptional drought, the most severe level of drought recorded by the monitor.

Part of the area of exceptional drought runs through Tuolumne County. The Don Pedro Reservoir sits at 67% capacity, 87% of the reservoir's historical average as of Thursday according to the California Department of Water Resources

Data shows that while 2,186 cubic feet of water flow into Don Pedro each second, 2,662 cubic feet flow out of the reservoir at the same time.

The Don Pedro Recreation Agency says they hope to bring the show back in the future, "when we are confident it is safe to do so," the statement says.

The reservoir remains open for boating, camping, fishing, hunting, swimming and water sports. Some features of the reservoir such as campgrounds require online reservations.  

Don Pedro Reservoir, which holds water from the Tuolumne River, is managed by a partnership between the Modesto Irrigation District, Turlock Irrigation District, and the city and county of San Francisco.

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