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Whitefish considers changes to fireworks ordinance

By Kevin Lessard, KCFW Reporter, klessard@kcfw.com
Published On: Feb 18 2014 04:31:09 PM MST
Updated On: Feb 18 2014 04:53:53 PM MST
KALISPELL, Mont. -

Fireworks are an Independence Day tradition. Bright colors light up the sky on the night on the 4th of July, but Whitefish Police Chief Bill Dial says it goes on more than just the holiday.

"We receive numerous complaints.  People are here to celebrate, which we want them to do, but we want them to celebrate responsibly,” said Dial.

Dial says that the police department gets a lot of calls from residents who say that the loud noises fireworks make can cause a lot of disturbances.

Dial is hoping to bring changes to the Whitefish fireworks ordinance.

Currently, you are allowed to set off fireworks on July 4, 5 and 6 until 10 p.m. If you are caught setting them off outside of that time, there's a fine that ranges from $50 to $500.

Dial wants to raise the minimum of that fine for first-time offenders.

"We want to take the discretion away from the prosecutor and tell them that the first offense will be $300 the second offense will be $500," said Dial.

Dial says that it isn't just a matter of noise complaints with fireworks, safety is another reason for the changes.

"Pets are being terrified because of excessive amounts of fireworks.  People not being able to sleep, people who live here all the time and have to go to work, I'm one of them.  And it gets to be a huge concern," Dial said.

In Missoula, most fireworks are illegal, with the exception of sparklers, snakes and smoke bombs. Bozeman allows fireworks on July 3, 4 and 5.