MISSOULA, Mont. - This year's Fourth of July celebration will be different for Missoula residents.
Monday night city council members decided to start fining people who light off fireworks within city limits.
City officials say there has been demand from the public, pet owners and city administrators to enforce Missoula's no-fireworks ordinance.
We talked to Missoula Police Chief Mark Muir after the meeting. He tells us in past years they have received as many as 250 phone calls in one night with folks reporting firework violations.
"Emergency rooms all across the nation experience a high volume of patients based on fireworks usage," said Muir.
Monday afternoon we took a look at the Missoula Police Firework Operation Plan for this Fourth of July. It says officers will cite anyone seen lighting off fireworks.
Muir says the goal is to keep people safe and to enforce the city ordinance.
"The disruption to people's peace is considered one of the significant issues at play here in Missoula," said Muir.
The new ordinance also allows Missoula Fire Department officials to site people with a violation, along with the Missoula Police Department's enforcement efforts.
Violate the new firework ordinance and you'll have to pay up. For a first offense you'll have to pay $100 plus court costs. If you violate the ordinance a second time in the same year you'll receive a $300 fine plus court costs.
Professional firework display permits will continue to be sold through the city.
If you would like to read the Missoula Police Department's firework enforcement plan for 2013, click here.
For more information on firework permits or to review the new ordinance yourself click here.
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