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NW Montana fire officials warn of fireworks danger 4th of July

Smokey the Bear
Posted at 4:01 PM, Jul 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-01 18:22:12-04

KALISPELL — Extreme heat and dry conditions have fire safety officials nervous about the use of fireworks this 4th of July weekend.

“I imagine in the next week or two we will be kind of running and gunning,” Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation (DNRC) Fire Prevention Specialist Ernie Nace told MTN News.

“This weekend’s got a lot of potential. I mean we’re going from not getting the moisture to just how hot it’s been this week, you know we’re breaking records everywhere,” said Nace.

Nace says those lighting off fireworks need to take special precautions.

“Having that bucket of water, a hose nearby, a fire extinguisher and just being diligent on watching the kiddos and making sure that they’re being responsible,” Nace advised.

Nace said people who start a wildfire will be held financially responsible. He also recommends attending fireworks shows that are put on by professionals.

“It just isn’t worth you know the liability on doing something like that when you know the conditions are kind of stacking up against you, again those public events are kind of the way to go, you’re a little more safe off, you still get the experience,” said Nace.

Nace said ariel fireworks including bottle rockets and roman candles are especially dangerous this time of year.

“You get in that dry canopy top, and you get the scenario where it’s wanting to move from tree to tree, or it’s just up in a tree where you can’t get to it, get water on it, so definitely be careful with your ariel’s, I’d really say save that for the professionals,” said Nace.

He noted that people lighting off fireworks need to check with local jurisdictions to find out when and where it’s allowed.

Fireworks are not allowed in national parks, on state lands, national forest lands, and Bureau of Land Management lands.

House Bill 215 -- which was passed during the last legislative session removed previous restrictions on skyrockets, roman candles, and bottle rockets.