Alright, I know I'm not going to be miss popular with this one, but just hear me out - I think fireworks should be illegal in Southwest Montana. I''m not trying to be a fun crusher, and I'm normally pretty relaxed and ok with whatever people choose to do with their time and money. Why do I think there should be a ban on fireworks?  A number of reasons.

First of all, we live in a place where most of us love the outdoors.  Skiing, fishing, hiking, camping, kayaking, rock climbing - the list goes on and on and on.  There are many places it would be easier to live with lower cost of living and higher paying jobs.  We make the choice to live here because we love it.  Then each and every summer these activities are cut short or limited because of one thing, forest fires.

NOW, I know all fires are not caused by fireworks, but here's a little recap of the last couple years.

Last summer - Kyler Schmitz started the Bear Trap 2 Fire. He said that he lit the firework that started the fire, but the firework did not work properly. He tried to put out the fire by throwing water from coolers on it with no success. The fire ended up burning 15,000 acres and caused approximately $3.8 million worth of property damage. That damage included a destroyed residence, eight horses, vehicles, equipment, fencing , crops, and grazing pasture.

Bozeman Fire's Josh Charles talks about the cost of fireworks related fires. "In 2010, the cost was $36 million, 15,000 fires were reported, 14,000 of those fires were wild land fires caused by straight up from fireworks being improperly used," Charles said.

Last year was the final straw for me. If you remember, the fire danger was through the roof at this particular point of last summer.  A family with high school kids about 3 houses down from us bought more fireworks than I have ever seen in a residential area.  My fiance and I sat in our back yard with our hose within reach.  Our neighbors on both sides were out of town, we have massive trees and big lawns.  Those kids set off fireworks until 2am.  The garbage was awful.  They had no respect for the fact they could have burned our entire neighborhood down, or for the mess that they caused that all of us were left to clean up.

This year fireworks are illegal in Missoula, and they are serious about it.  They say

Fireworks are upsetting to war veterans; result in lost and injured dogs, creating Missoula Animal Control’s busiest day of the year; cause injuries and are part of hospital emergency departments’ busiest day of the year; start fires, endangering property in town and bringing the risk of wildland fires; and generally disturb the peace.

Now, I know most people are not careless - I totally get it.  But the fact of the matter is the few that are, cause major damage.  I think that certain organizations (city of Bozeman, city of Belgrade, Livingston Roundup) should be allowed to put on their ginormous displays, because they can have fire personnel there and ready to go if something goes wrong. Then we still see our fireworks, in a much safer way.

Am I the lone crazy one here?  Does anyone else agree with me?