In an effort to reduce the risk of danger and incidents regarding fireworks, the Billings Fire Department is once again closing public areas on the Rims and around Zimmerman Trail and Phipps Park during the Independence Day holiday again this year. The closures begin on July 4th and will end on the morning of July 5th.

Luckily, it's only for one day.

The fire risk in Montana during the 4th of July is always a point of note every year. Even last year, a range fire was caused by fireworks just north of Colstrip. We live in quite a dry climate, and one incident caused by a lack of common sense can ruin the fun for the rest of us.

Folks wanting to use the walking trails or park on the Rims will not be able to for the entire day. According to the Fire Department, patrols will be conducted by the Billings Police Department, Yellowstone County Sheriff's Office, Montana Highway Patrol, and the Fire Department to ensure that all vehicle, bike, and pedestrian access is prohibited.

Also, please exercise good judgment and common sense with fireworks.

It should go without saying that firework safety is incredibly important. Along with the notice of closing the Rims, the Fire Department also included a list of typical fire safety measures, including having water at the ready just in case, never lighting "dud" fireworks, and never lighting fireworks while standing over the firework.

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Keep in mind as well, that the Billings City Code prohibits the sale, use, and possession of fireworks within city limits. Stay safe out there this Independence Day, and plan accordingly for the closure of the Rims.

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