Heat Wave Sparks Warnings from County Officials on Fireworks
Temperatures in the 100’s are rapidly drying out all of Missoula County, which has prompted county officials to ask anyone planning to set off fireworks to think very carefully.
Deputy Department of Emergency services Director Nick Holloway reached out to KGVO with words of warning about fires from fireworks.
“We don't have any restrictions in place right now, and fire danger is currently at ‘High’ as opposed to some other areas in the state where it's very high or extreme,” said Holloway. “We haven't reached those levels to where we would put out any fire restrictions at this point. That fire danger is based upon some indices like emergency release components in a burning index and so that helps objectify and determine where the fire danger should be.”
Holloway said Missoula County operates under a different governing system than the city.
“Unlike the city, which is a self governing power, Missoula County has general powers of government,” he said. “So we can't just enact restrictions or impose restrictions on folks on private property. We have to have certain conditions met on the ground before we can even think about doing something like that.”
Holloway was realistic, knowing that fireworks are still legal in Missoula County, however, he asks everyone to use extreme caution.
“Just be extremely cautious,” he said. “It is hot and dry out there and we all know that it's very hot, and so any flammable material could just ignite and spread very quickly with fire so be very, very cautious before deciding to light off any fireworks. It is also illegal in the city of Missoula, and on any US Forest federal land, or any state land, so just know where it is legal and where it's not legal and be extremely cautious about letting off any fireworks.”
One final comment from Holloway reminds those using fireworks that they are liable for the damage they cause.
“People should know that if they are the cause of a fire, then they are liable for paying for the cost of suppressing that fire, which as we all know can be very, very, very expensive,” he said. “So, just be careful. Don't be that person that lights off any fireworks in dry areas and do have ways to suppress any fire yourself if a small fire should start.”
Information on fire restrictions statewide is available online here.
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