Continuous News

Jun 28, 2012 4:55 PM by Chet Layman

Officials warn of using fireworks during active fire season

The Gallatin County Commission enacted a county-wide burn ban this afternoon that will take effect at midnight tonight. Commissioners did not take on the issue of fireworks, instead choosing to leave that decision to local fire districts.

Bozeman Fire's Josh Charles talks about the cost of fireworks related fires.

"In 2010, the cost was $36 million, 15,000 fires were reported, 14,000 of those fires were wild land fires caused by straight up from fireworks being improperly used," Charles said.

Those are nationwide numbers, but with fireworks being suspected as the cause for the Bear Trap 2 Fire, which is over 15,000 acres, the numbers locally for 20-12 will be high. The other reality is these wild land fires draw resources from departments across the area, straining local efforts.

"We will always maintain a fire force to deal with an initial attack here locally, but we also need to help our partners throughout Gallatin County and the state. That way when we need some help and they're available to help us we have that shared mutual aid response. But in this particular case we need the help of the public to reduce the ignitions up front," Central Valley Fire Chief Ron Lindroth said.

Lindroth went on to say Central Valley has already had to deal with fireworks related fires, so Lindroth is asking for special care this holiday season.

"We have had several fires already from fireworks in open field areas. We want to limit those so again, over water, over irrigated green grass, over pavement or over gravel roads, things like that is the safer method to use your fireworks."

Along with fire risk, emergency crews also have to deal with injuries from these pyrotechnics. Josh Charles says supervision is key to injury prevention here.

"Safety is number one, adult supervision. One out of three injuries are of children with no adult supervision. So we are urging again with the fire aspect of it and the safety aspect of it. Back to the statistics again in 2010 there were 9,000 injuries caused by improper use of fireworks and no adult supervision."

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