Oct 17, 2013 9:27 AM by Brin Merkley - KPAX News
MISSOULA - Local police and fire officials testified before the Missoula City Council on Wednesday about the pros and cons of the emergency firework ordinance that banned fireworks in the city limits - and sparklers were a controversial subject.
Members of the Missoula Public Safety Committee revisited the city fireworks ban that's been in effect since last February - with City Fire Chief Jason Diehl saying his department received 136 complaints this year - setting the record for the lowest they've had since 2007.
Councilman Jon Wilkins commented that he's noticed the ban made an impact. "I was astounded by the public that emailed us and thanking us and that was quite large that I noticed, so I think it probably did some good."
Missoula Assistant Police Chief Mike Brady told committee members that they had 153 responses to fireworks calls this year - with police issuing 29 citations and 95 warrants between July 1 and July 5. He added that 68% of the calls were made between 7 p.m. on July 4 and 2 a.m. on July 5.
Council members also talked about the possibility of allowing sparklers during the Wednesday meeting.
"I have mixed feelings about it. In some ways, I'd like us to go down that road - but it's also probably just easier to have the ban and let people proceed at their own risk. You know, if they're not being to annoying - their probably going to be okay...so I haven't really made up my mind on that," councilman Bob Jaffe explained.
The public is being invited to weigh in on the hot topic during a Nov. 18 hearing on the Missoula fireworks ordinance.
Brady also said fireworks that shoot up into the air are the ones that are creating the most complaints. Several council members also spoke up at the meeting to say that they did not plan on supporting an exception to sparklers.