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Fireworks still went boom—is Bozeman ban a bust? Police say no, despite reports

Posted at 6:34 PM, Jul 05, 2024

BOZEMAN — It was a pretty eventful, and loud, Fourth of July in Bozeman. And that's because hundreds of people were lighting off fireworks all around town, even though they're technically banned in Bozeman.

I asked some folks, “Did you light off any fireworks last night?”

Jared told me, “I did. All the neighbors were lighting them off.”

Last night, the skies of Bozeman were bright and full of color as people celebrated Independence Day. Some other folks told me they celebrated by lighting off some Roman candles last night.

And whether you wanted to join in on the festivities or not, you could feel the rumble of fireworks all around.

A man named Joe told me he didn’t light off any fireworks himself, but he saw many.

But there are regulations to fireworks around Gallatin County. The Sheriff’s Office posted these firework regulations:

  • The City of Belgrade allows fireworks until July 5 at 11 p.m.
  • Three Forks is until July 6 at 10 p.m.
  • Manhattan and West Yellowstone now prohibit fireworks altogether after the Fourth of July.

And Bozeman has had a strict fireworks ban for the last two years—which is interesting because one local told me he was hearing the roar of fireworks all night.
So, what did Bozeman Police do about the firework ban blatantly being ignored? I spoke with a Lieutenant on the phone earlier. He was out patrolling last night with around 15 other officers.

He told me they received many calls about fireworks being lit in city limits, but unfortunately, it’s hard to track people down when they’re given such a broad area to search.

The lieutenant told me by the end of the night, three firework citations were given out, as well as three warnings. There were also two arrests that began with a firework call but then led to another issue. One was a DUI, and the other is still under investigation.

But regardless of all the calls that came in last night, the lieutenant told me it was nothing compared to last year. In fact, there was a near-22% decrease in fireworks calls altogether. And, even the days before the 4th were quieter. The lieutenant claims this is due to the fireworks ban.

But although firework numbers were down this year, they were still prominent throughout the neighborhoods, considering one man told me he saw many fireworks being lit off all over the place, both professional fireworks, but also by the public.