HELENA – Fireworks are now legal to purchase in Montana for the 4th of July and stands across the state are prepared for patriotic revelers.
The TNT stand on the corner of Euclid Avenue and Joslyn Street in Helena already had multiple customers in their first hour of being open.
The veteran-operated stand anticipates selling well over 10,000 fireworks by the end of July 4th holiday.
James Merrill, a Marine Corps veteran, works the stand with his family and said his favorite part is seeing the faces of the children light up each year.
“It’s an ongoing pleasure to help people celebrate the independence of our country,” said Merrill. “When the kids come here, they light up just like fireworks and they can’t wait to go out there and see the big sparks fly and enjoy it.”
Merrill recommended parents make sure the fireworks are age appropriate for the child and urged everyone to be safe.
“You definitely want to be safe about everything. Be careful where you light them. Even though the weather’s been great and everything like that, it’s still something you have to be careful about,” said Merrill.
Bob Drake, Chief at Tri-Lakes Volunteer Fire Department, stresses the importance of using common sense and being prepared when using fireworks.
“Think about what can happen and then plan for that,” said Drake. “Think about where it’s going to land. If it’s something that can burn, a lot of them come down hot enough to start a fire. Think about what can happen, can you live with that? If the answer is no don’t do it.”
Fire officials say the number one issue they hear when responding to fireworks calls is that the person did not expect the firework to tip over or produce so many sparks.
“They light the firework, it falls over and then shoots underneath their vehicle or into their garage. Don’t give fire an opening to go into a house or into a structure.”
Drake added he’s not anti-firework, he just wants people to be safe so it doesn’t put someone’s life at risk.
“I just want them to be used safely and not lose a volunteer, resident or house over something happening that’s unexpected,” explained Drake.
It’s recommended people wear appropriate clothing and be prepared to put out a small fire. Having the right tools like a shovel or hose to put out small fires can also make a difference.
Many cities and towns across the Treasure State prohibit — or limit the type — of fireworks within city limits. They are also prohibited on federal and state lands, such as in National Forests and or at State Fishing Sites.
Officials recommend keeping fireworks away for children when not supervised by an adult.
-John Riley reporting for MTN News