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Restraint urged for fireworks

?Havre Daily News/Nikki Carlson

Havre Jaycees member Sean Hellems, from left, and Vice President Trisha Keeler sell fireworks Wednesday afternoon to Randy Christofferson at the Jaycees' fireworks booth, located west of the Hill County Sheriff's Department. The Jaycees' booth is open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. today and Friday, and will be open from 10 a.m. to midnight beginning Saturday through July 4. The annual Jaycees' Fourth of July Fireworks Display begins at dusk July 4 at the Great Northern Fairgrounds.

While the Hill County government is not banning the use of fireworks this Independence Day, the county commission chair said he hopes people will use the utmost restraint and maybe skip the traditional way to celebrate the holiday.

"Here in Hill County … we have had very good moisture and things are very green. In the same breath I have to say green grass will burn, and so I'm a little leery of fireworks this year, " Hill County Commission Chair Mike Wendland said Thursday.

State Fire Marshal Allen Lorenz Wednesday asked people to refrain from using fireworks due to the high fire danger that already has started multiple major wildfires in the southern and eastern sections of Montana.

"In many parts of our state, conditions are simply too dangerous to safely ignite fireworks this year, " Lorenz said in a release. "A little prevention can go a long way to preserving homes and property. "

The governments in Blaine, Chouteau and Liberty counties are taking the same stance as Hill — the commissions are not banning fireworks this season, but asking that people think twice, and use extreme caution.

Wendland said he was thinking about buying some fireworks himself, then thought about the fire marshal's request and reconsidered.

"We don't have an ordinance or a resolution against (using fireworks,) " he said, but I guess my recommendation would be, much like the state, if (people) could curb their fireworks, especially if there is fire danger, it would sure help out. "

Safety tips

  • Use fireworks outdoors only.
  • Always have water handy (hose or bucket).
  • Only use fireworks as intended. Don't try to alter them or combine them.
  • Never relight a "dud" firework. Wait 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water.
  • Use common sense. Spectators should keep a safe distance from the shooter and the shooter should wear safety glasses.
  • Alcohol and fireworks do not mix. Have a "designated shooter."
  • Only persons over the age of 12 should be allowed to handle sparklers of any type.

Source: The National Council on Fireworks Safety


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