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Sky Harbor puts damper on Sun Devils’ fireworks

PHOENIX — As Arizona State University fans cheered on their Sun Devils in the football game against Weber State Thursday night, most expected lots of touchdowns and thus, lots of fireworks.

ASU has a tradition of launching fiery mortars after each score, much to the delight of the attendants. The pyrotechnics are a special favorite of the university’s student section, appropriately called the “Inferno.”

Although the No. 19 Sun Devils scored a total of 45 points against the unranked Wildcats, the stadium only saw fireworks three times throughout the entire game.

This is because of an agreement between the city of Phoenix, the Federal Aviation Administration and ASU that restricted the displays to after the national anthem, when the team rushed onto the field and after halftime.

Sky Harbor is used to accommodating ASU’s fireworks. For each home game, air traffic is usually moved to the north runway to keep low-flying planes away from the mortars. But the Thursday night game posed a unique challenge, according to a statement from the FAA.

“A long fireworks display, or fireworks going off after every score, would create significant delays because we would have to slow the flow of traffic into and out of Sky Harbor to shoe-horn all the planes onto the north airfield,” it read.

ASU has one more scheduled Thursday night home game against UCLA on Sept. 25.

“We have already begun working with the FAA to resolve this issue before our Pac-12 home opener against UCLA,” read the university’s statement.

Many are hoping ASU and the FAA can come to an agreement, so the next Thursday game can have the flair fans love.

KTAR’s Martha Maurer contributed to this report.