Fireworks complaints up this year

Fireworks complaints were up this year.

Great Falls Police Chief Dave Bowen told City Commissioners during their July 7 meeting that from July 2-5 over the last three years calls for service were:

  • 2018: 60
  • 2019: 79
  • 2020: 96

Bowen said it may indicate a growing intolerance for fireworks within the city limits, particularly outside the times and dates they are allowed under city ordinance.

GFFR reminding residents of fireworks safety for July 4

Great Falls Fire Marshal said that from July 2-5 there were five grass fires and two dumpster fires related to fireworks.

Bowen said no fireworks citations have been issued in the last three years since fireworks are typically a lower priority call and by the time officers arrive, the incident is over and/or people scatter. He said it’s a question of a firework complaint is worth a foot pursuit.

Resident asks city to consider banning fireworks within city limits [2018]

Bowen said that years ago, he and the fire chief worked to develop the ordinance as it exists now, which was a compromise to limit the usage of fireworks within the city while still allowing them.

Several years ago, Mayor Bob Kelly held a town hall about fireworks that generated heated discussion but no changes to the ordinance that only allows fireworks July 2-4.

Fewer calls over this July 4 holiday than previous years; open burning remains prohibited in Cascade County [2017]

Bowen said fireworks did seem worse this year than usual, perhaps related to COVID-19, which has been widely reported nationwide.

Commissioners received several emails regarding fireworks complaints and Commissioner Rick Tryon said he personally fielded numerous complaints.

He said he loves July 4 celebrations, but “I have never heard it as bad as it was.”

Commissioner Mary Moe said she also received calls about fireworks.