Hatred, Dread, Love, Pets, and Vets: Montanans Will Never Agree On Fireworks
The decades old battle in Montana about fireworks on appropriate holidays continues. Some folks look forward to lighting fireworks for months, while others prepare with dread for the noise and disruption it causes. Patriotic? Sure. A real pain for some? Also sure.
NOTE: I have to preface this writing with the fact that I have no "dog in this fight". I'm not in a position to lobby one way or another - FOR fireworks or against them. Fireworks are fun to watch and I've had a blast lighting them off on occasion. However, I'm also a person who has to wake up for work every morning at 4am, regardless of whether fireworks are allowed until 1am. It's a love/hate relationship for me.
My lack of sleep pales in comparison to the nuisance that fireworks cause some of our neighbors. Those with several pets have to prepare weeks in advance for "fireworks holidays" with drugs, white noise, blankets, whatever makes their pets not totally freak out for days.
Then there are members of our community who are combat veterans who suffer from PTSD. Fireworks and the sudden explosions are not their friend. I don't have a vet in my household but you'll surely see several people posting online about "what can they do to escape the noise" during the 4th of July or New Year's Eve. It's a tough situation, because even though fireworks are never allowed on Forest Service land, camping is not necessarily the answer - there are always a few jerks who break the fireworks rules.
The compromise that I was always willing to (happily) tolerate was the designated 3 days that most Montana cities allowed fireworks surrounding the 4th of July. Strict hours, three days. Sounds fine. But inevitably, the firework parties lasted far longer than the allowed hours. The police have way more important things to do than deal with late fireworks people, and I understand that.
Even if people did follow whatever "allowed hours" they were given for fireworks, that doesn't help the folks that really have trouble with them. Is there ANY BALANCE with fireworks? For instance, the City of Bozeman has announced that they'll be putting on a 4th of July fireworks display for the whole community. Those last about 20 to 25 minutes when done as a choreographed show.
So, is the City going to ban all other fireworks? I doubt it...although it's encouraged (so far) to skip the home fireworks displays and attend the community event. That makes sense but fireworks lovers are still going to want to celebrate with their own displays and parties. Where do we go from here?
ANOTHER NOTE: Yes, on dangerous fire condition years, the City and the County have not hesitated to ban the use of fireworks. That's rare, but it does happen when appropriate.