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Local law enforcement provides rules and regs for private fireworks usage


Havre Daily News/Jack Lambert

Kevin Holmes opens up shop Monday at the Havre Jaycees fireworks booth. The shop is open from 4 p.m. to midnight through Thursday and from noon to midnight Friday. Proceeds from the stand fund the Jaycees annual Independence Day fireworks display.

With Independence Day hitting this weekend, and the Havre Jaycees holding its annual fireworks display, law enforcement have some tips on what is legal and what is not for private individuals setting off their own fireworks.

The Jaycees again are selling fireworks, the proceeds from which are used to fund their annual Independence Day display. The display is set off from the Great Northern Fairgrounds arena. Parking in the fairgrounds is not allowed during the display.

Havre Police Chief Gabe Matosich and Hill County Sheriff Jamie Ross provided details about the current rules and regulations regarding the private use of fireworks for this coming Fourth of July weekend.

Matosich said the current ordinance from the City of Havre permits people to discharge fireworks within the city limits, but only from July 2 through July 4 between the hours of 8 a.m. to midnight.

Ross also cautioned that private property is off limits to fireworks unless permission has been granted by the property owner. He said people who want to use fireworks should try not to let their activities become a nuisance to their neighbors.

"We do get a lot of people lighting off fireworks late at night, so what I would say is, be respectful to your community and your neighborhood when lighting fireworks," he said.

The city ordinance also said it is illegal for fireworks debris to be left in any public place including, parks, sidewalks, streets, alleys, as well as on private property not owned by the individual discharging the fireworks.

Matosich said people who intend to use fireworks when legally allowed should also be sure to observe the COVID-19 guidelines provided by the Hill County Health Department as well as the recommendations by the Centers of Disease Control and prevention.

This includes consistently and thoroughly washing hands, avoiding large groups when practical and wearing masks if not, though he said, social distancing is especially important.

"Social distancing is probably going to be the largest part of it," he said.

Matosich said the Havre Police Department often gets fire calls during this time of year, but he is hoping the recent weather will cut down on problems.

Havre Daily News/Jack Lambert

Assorted fireworks are seen Monday at the Havre Jaycees fireworks booth. The Jaycees use the money they make on the sale of the fireworks to use on Havre's Fourth of July fireworks display.

"Hopefully, this year, with the amount of rain we're getting this year, that will prevent some of the fires," he said.

Matosich said people looking to avoid problems can take some basic safety measures when using fireworks.

"It's all about safety," he said. "Make sure you have water, if a fire breaks out make sure you have a hose close by. Make sure they're being set off properly and you have the right people doing it."

Ross said people should make sure to be mindful of their children when using fireworks and should apply common sense.

"Just be safe, make sure you're in an area that won't light a fire easily, make sure your kids are being supervised by adult, just use common sense and have a wonderful holiday weekend," he said.

Matosich also encouraged people to take the situation seriously, but still have fun during the holiday.

"Hopefully, everyone has a good, safe Fourth of July," Matosich said.


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