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Fourth of July campers say they're playing it safe

By Katherine Mozzone, KTVM Reporter, kmozzone@ktvm.com
Published On: Jul 02 2013 05:06:02 PM MDT
Updated On: Jul 02 2013 06:53:25 PM MDT
BOZEMAN, Mont. -

The Fourth of July holiday has already started for many Montana visitors and Gallatin Valley locals alike. I spoke to folks at a Hyalite Canyon campground who say, they know the rules and plan to play it safe.

We always try to do things together as a family on the Fourth," says Belgrade resident Lane Cameron.

Cameron fishes Hyalite Creek at Langohr Campground as he waits for family to arrive. He says this year's Independence Day will be special.

"It's a big holiday but this one will be especially good because our daughter and grandkids will be around," Cameron says.

He tells me they often set off fireworks for the Fourth and plan to have sparklers and fountains for the kids, but says they draw the line there.

"We wouldn't set off any fireworks up here...We'll go somewhere pretty controlled and set off under the right conditions to watch the really spectacular ones," explains Cameron.

Camper Sharon Leppellere has a similar take. She lives in California but used to be a Bozeman resident.

"This right here is my most amazing place in probably the entire United States," says Leppellere.

Fishing, hiking, talking, relaxing by the creek are all on the agenda but not fireworks.

"We have not purchased any. We have no intention of doing it ourselves," says Leppellere.

Leppellere tells us, aside from the fact it's illegal, last year's fires hit too close to home for her to take the risk. The parents of a close friend lost their home to a wildfire in Roundup.

"The fire danger, I mean, who wants to burn down Montana," says Leppellere.

The forest may be green but folks like Cameron and Leppellere say you can't be too careful.

Here are a couple of reminders from southwest Montana fire managers: Never leave campfire coals that you can't touch, make sure your off-road vehicle has a spark arrester and never take or use any fireworks on state or federal land.