With the Fourth of July right around the corner, it is important to brush up on the dos and don’ts when it comes to fireworks in Missoula County. Dodd McDermott is the Deputy Fire Marshal at Missoula Rural Fire District and he has the answers.

“Fireworks are legal in the county but they're legal on private property and are not permitted on public property or state or federal lands,” McDermott said. “That's one thing you need to remember. You need to know your fireworks and be prepared. Responsible adults should supervise at all times. Never give fireworks to young children. You never want to mix your alcohol and your fireworks.”

According to McDermott, the release of the now popular sky lanterns can cause fires that result in damage to homes and property.

“Something that's come up in the last few years that might be of great interest is the sky lanterns,” McDermott said. “NFPA has actually outlawed sky lanterns because of the high instance of fires resulting from them. The State of Montana allows them if they're tethered, but it is best if we just don't use them. I think that would be one thing to remember.”

McDermott also provided some safety tips when dealing with fireworks.

“One thing you should never do is aim any fireworks at people or at houses,” McDermott said. “Always ignite them on a sturdy solid surface where they're not likely to tip over and wear safety glasses. Light one firework at a time, and then quickly move away from it. Always use your fireworks outdoors in a clear area away from buildings and vehicles and never ever ignite fireworks inside.

McDermott said it is important to remember that you are responsible for any damages your fireworks might cause.

“Anybody who lit the firework is responsible or any adult supervising is responsible for any damage that can be caused because of those fireworks,” McDermott said. “If you like somebody's house on fire, burn up someone's vehicle, or actually injure somebody, that can be very, very expensive. It's going to dry out real quick with these hot days. Even underneath the wet, everything can burn so we're just hoping everybody will be safe. We want everybody to have a happy, safe, and festive Fourth of July.

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