Missoula, MT (KGVO-AM News) - With the 4th of July on the horizon, fireworks stands are opening, and that means the annual message that fireworks are legal in the county, but still illegal within the Missoula city limits.

I spoke with Missoula Rural Fire Deputy Chief Corey Horsens on Thursday, who provided important safety tips for those who will be lighting off fireworks from now through the 4th of July.

Fireworks are Still Illegal Within the Missoula City Limits

“First and foremost, we like to remind folks that fireworks are illegal within the city of Missoula,” began Deputy Chief Horsens. “They are legal in the county on private property, but they're not permitted on public property, state or federal lands. We encourage folks to always read the warning labels before they ignite their fireworks, and that certainly a responsible adult should always be present to supervise any fireworks activities and not to allow young children to light off fireworks without close supervision. It also goes without saying, but we like to remind folks that alcohol and fireworks don't mix.”

Horsens provided more helpful advice on fireworks safety.

Missoula Rural Fire has Helpful Tips on Fireworks

“Don't ever aim fireworks at other people, or just make sure that if you do ignite them they are on a dirt or a solid surface,” he said. “We encourage folks to wear safety glasses when shooting off fireworks. Just light one shell at a time and then move away quickly. Of course, always use only use them outdoors. Never discharge fireworks inside of any type of building or vehicle.”

Every now and then you’ll experience fireworks that don’t explode, and Horsens explained how to handle the situation.

“If you do experience a dud firework, make sure you wait at least 20 minutes or so and then throw it in a bucket of water, just to make sure that it does not injure anyone,” he said. “We encourage folks not to experiment with any type of homemade fireworks. Then, after the show is over, just have a fire watch and wet down the area just make sure that there is no fire that's ignited as a result of fireworks being discharged.”

Horsens said if there is any question about fireworks that may get out of control, do not hesitate to call 9-1-1.

READ MORE: Missoula Rural Fire District - Don't Mix Alcohol With Fireworks

The 24 Hour Fireworks Report Hotline is Open at 406-258-4850

“Certainly, as we learn from open burning, we encourage folks to have an extremely low threshold around calling 9-1-1,” he said. “If you’re concerned about any type of fire, we're happy to send an engine out just to make sure that any type of fire is completely out. Certainly don't hesitate to call 9-1-1 if you're the least bit concerned about a fire that's been ignited as a result of fireworks. We're always happy to come out and take a look and just make sure that there's no danger to the public.”

As far as the City of Missoula is concerned, the 24-hour. The Fireworks Report Hotline is already active at 406-258-4850.  If you are caught lighting off fireworks within the city limits you could be fined.

According to a City of Missoula press release; “firefighters as well as police officers have the authority to issue citations. The penalties are $100 plus court costs for a first offense and $300 plus court costs for a second offense during the same calendar year.”

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