For the fourth of July this year, my girlfriend and I found a good spot in the South Hills that overlooked the city of Missoula so we would be able to get a good view of the fireworks that were going on at the Southgate Mall. And not only did we get that - we also got to see all the other fireworks that were being used all over town.

It makes for a cool viewing experience, but those fireworks are technically illegal - Montana's been seeing fire restrictions over the last few weeks so as not to spread any wildfires (and recently moved into Stage II of those restrictions). Setting off fireworks has a danger of sparking a fire, so naturally, the city was hoping people would keep the illegal fireworks to a minimum.

And people... pretty much didn't do that. But it looks like it was fine - Missoula officials actually issued zero tickets this year to bust people for illegal fireworks. There were definitely complaints and the police did arrive on the scene in some cases, but all of those ended with a warning, which seems to be the preferred method of dealing with someone with illegal fireworks.

But that's not an invitation for you to start shooting off illegal fireworks whenever you want, especially when we're in Stage II Fire Restrictions. The Paddleheads even rescheduled their next fireworks display, and they're actually doing it professionally.

Do you think Missoula should be stricter about illegal fireworks? Or do you think the warning system is working out?

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