Montana State Fire Marshal Allen Lorenz is asking Montanans to avoid fireworks this Fourth of July, as explosive fire conditions have resulted in numerous wildfires that have already destroyed dozens of homes and threaten the homes of hundreds of other Montanans.
Additionally, Colonel Mike Tooley, chief of the Montana Highway Patrol, is urging people near fire zones to please honor road closures and avoid areas where emergency vehicles are operating.
“In many parts of our state, conditions are simply too dangerous to safely ignite fireworks this year,” Lorenz said Wednesday. “A little prevention can go a long way to preserving homes and property.”
State law gives local governments – not the state — the power to restrict open burning – including fireworks, Lorenz said. His office has a sample resolution local governments that wish to prohibit burning in their areas may use.
Lorenz said he has heard from many local fire and government officials inquiring how to ban open burning.
Many Montanans are worried and want to see the fires, Tooley said, but, unless it is absolutely essential, honor the road closures in place and don’t drive to congested areas to get a better look.
“Fire managers close roads to guarantee your safety,” Tooley said Wednesday. “Keep yourself out of harm’s way and give firefighters the space to do their jobs.”