Firecrackers sales and safety in KOTA territory - KOTA Territory News

Firecrackers sales and safety in KOTA territory

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Thursday marks the first day that South Dakota residents can buy fireworks and it's a better year for firework sales.

"Our calls are up," said Mark Lantis, the manager at Lantis Fireworks. "People asking if they can buy, so we're optimistic that this year will be a good year."

Last year was so dry, people could buy fireworks but to prevent fires they couldn't use them. "We didn't want to see the hills get burnt down so we agreed with the decision last year to ban the fireworks," said Lantis. 

The drought and ban on using fireworks affected businesses like Lantis fireworks in Piedmont, which lost revenue. "At least 50% maybe a little bit more." said Lantis. 

While last year's fire danger category was extreme on the fourth of July, right now it is low. "Fire danger is not that high right now because of all the moisture we've had," said Ray Bubb, the division chief at Wildland Fire Suppression.

However, fireworks still pose a threat and strict laws are in place to prevent fires in the Black Hills Fire Protection District and in Rapid City.

According to press release from the Pennington County Sheriff's Office, Rapid City Fire Department, and Rapid City Police Department, people can set off novelty fireworks like party poppers, sparklers, toy caps, flitter sparklers, and snappers in Rapid City. People who set off other fireworks in or within one mile of the city limits, will be charged with a fine up to $500, 30 days in jail, or both. Fireworks are not allowed inside the city limits of Wall. And fireworks are only allowed in the New Underwood city limits on July 4.

The fire condition can change. "It doesn't take much of a hot dry spell for these fuels to dry back out and get to the point where we do have fire danger come back into our lives," said Bubb.

Law enforcement recommends checking the conditions before lighting any fireworks. If the fire danger category changes, and a person does not observe restrictions, he or she could face criminal penalties.

Check for current conditions here: http://gacc.nifc.gov/rmcc/dispatch_centers/r2gpc/currentfiredanger.htm

When fireworks are allowed, law enforcement suggests safety precautions like water nearby and keeping fireworks from young children.

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