Fireworks Can Bring Big Fines in Missoula, Bigger Fines on National Forest Land
Fireworks are for sale in Western Montana, but it is illegal to light them off in many places. Missoula City Fire Department Assistant Fire Marshal Dax Fraser says lighting them off in the city would be a mistake.
"In the city it is illegal to light off fireworks," Fraser said. "Where you see people buying them is in the County. We do have the professional show happening this year and I think the Osprey are going to put on a few shows, but the only fireworks allowed in the city are called "novelty" fireworks."
Dex says novelty fireworks include things like sparklers, party poppers and snap-pops, (see photo above) other types of fireworks in city limits can lead to fines.
"They can get a fine, and they are responsible for any damage they cause to their own property, which is obvious, or to someone else's property," Fraser said."On a first offense, it is a $100 fine plus court costs and on a second offense it is $300 plus court costs.
According to Todd McKay from the Bitterroot National Forest, National Forest restrictions are even more strict.
"Fireworks are prohibited on all National Forests year round," McKay said. "Fireworks of any kind cannot be discharged anywhere within the Bitterroot National Forest regardless of weather conditions or holidays. Visitors can be subject to a citation and a fine actually with a maximum penalty of up to $5,000 and six months in jail."
Fireworks are legal in many Montana counties, but it is important to check local rules regularly as an increase in local fire danger risk can bring added restrictions. According to Missoula County Communications Coordinator Katie Kleitz there are no restrictions in Missoula County for Independence Day this year.