A spokesperson for the fire department said the lights were parachute exercises, possibly including pyrotechnics. But this spokesperson did not know what group was performing the exercises. It seems odd for the fire department to claim knowledge of the alleged exercises and possible pyrotechnics usage, but not know the responsible party, especially in a dry area like Phoenix where fire risk is high, and fires and pyrotechnics are usually restricted or heavily regulated.
Later, an alternative explanation was offered by the U.S. Air Force – flares. The Air Force alleges that the lights were simply flares from the Barry Goldwater Range – the same explanation given for the Phoenix Lights of 1997.
Witnesses aren’t buying either of the explanations.