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Fireworks and backcountry camping: Not a holiday mix

Posted at 4:31 PM, Jun 30, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-30 18:31:29-04

BOZEMAN – With the Fourth of July around the corner, lots of people will be shooting fireworks or heading to the backcountry. However, if you’re thinking of combining the two activities, think twice.

State law prohibits two common fireworks:

“Roman candles and bottle rockets are illegal in the state of Montana. The consumer-grade fireworks are what’s legal and all the stands (have) the consumer grade fireworks that are legal,” said Central Valley Fire Marshal Bruce Hennequin.

You’ll need to check your city’s website for specific firework rules. But, if you’re hitting the trails or heading to the backcountry – all fireworks are illegal.

“Leave the fireworks at home. They’re not allowed on national forest land ever,” said Custer Gallatin Forest fire information and education coordinator, Marianne Baumberger.

There are also certain rules for building campfires. Hyalite requires metal rings, other areas may not, but you’ll have to find a clear area first.

“You can use rocks if you want but make sure there’s no grass on the edge of those rocks so your fire is within a large cleared area or a large graveled area and its really hard to remember to always not only look around for dead vegetation but also to look up for any kind of branches that may start a fire up the side of a tree,” Baumberger said.

You’ll need a shovel to help clear the area in and around the fire but you’ll need something else to help put it out: water.

“Make sure you have some sort of water, I know people will use sand and yeah, you can use it, but the best way to cool down that fire and make that those ashes are cold is water,” Baumberger said.

The only surefire way to make sure it is safe to leave the area is to take your hand, and press on the coals and the embers in your fire pit just to make sure there’s no more heat or warmth.

The U.S. Forest Service highly recommends using a fire ring if one is available.

Carson Vickroy – MTN News