Behind the scenes with professional pyros in Madera

FRESNO, Calif.

Scott Peterson and his crew began early in the morning hauling and hammering getting ready for the Madera fireworks show.

Every single firework needs a gun or launch pad. This year they need 800 guns for a 35 minute show. Randy Harris, a pyrotechnician has been helping his friend set off fireworks for over ten years.

"You try to keep the air filled with shells at all times so if he misses a cue, one of us will light one to make sure we have something in the air," Harris said.

Harris and Peterson call themselves professional pyros. They say they've been setting off fireworks since they were kids, it's just that now they get paid to do it and they're pyrotechnics are a lot bigger.

The fireworks themselves are three, four and five inch balls with gunpowder underneath. They are timed to explode hundreds of feet in the air and often contain several separate explosives that scatter and burn.

Peterson, who works for "Pyro Spectaculars" says, "'we have some that are called "Kamours". There are silver and gold ones, those are the ones that burst with a lot of sparks- - they come like a waterfall and slowly fall almost all the way to the ground."

Peterson and his crew will light each device by hand with what's called a quick match. Though there are few mishaps, sometimes the devices misfire.

Harris explains, "if it blows up, it could blow the side of the tube out or it could come up and blow up just two inches above the tube. So when you light, you want to make sure you put your hard hat down so when that goes off it's not going to explode right here in your face."

With all eyes on the ground, the crew never sees the show. They leave that to the thousands of spectators who come back year after year.

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