Residents React to Morton County Fireworks Ban


It’s less than a month until the Fourth of July. And Morton County has put its foot down on the use of fireworks.

“We buy a lot of them and shoot them off until like midnight,” says Andrew Helvig.

But in Morton County, where they’re usually legal around the big holiday, have been banned until further notice. It follows weeks of drought the entire state has suffered through. 

Tom Doering, the Morton County Emergency Manager says, “It’s just so dry and the chances of fire, wildfire are pretty high.”

There have been 15 wildfires throughout the county the past 30 days. So, Doering, with support from Morton County’s Commission, declared a total burn ban. The sale of fireworks is still allowed, and according to Doering, all of the retailers have been understanding, but not everyone is.

“I’m pretty bummed, like, pretty sad about it. Because now, what are we doing? It’s like Fourth of July,” said Helvig.

Even if there are hard feelings, Doering hasn’t heard any of it.

He added, “We haven’t had one phone call of anyone, you know, mad at the fact that they can’t use fireworks.”

The ban does have potential to be lifted before the Fourth of July if there’s enough rain. But chances aren’t looking good. 

Resident Earl Bittner said, “If it’s a wet year, it’s not so bad. But if it’s a dry year, we’ve gotta do what we gotta do.”

Each city within Morton County has the option to opt out of the total burn ban. Mandan is expected to make a decision later this week. We reached out to the City of Lincoln who do allow fireworks throughout the holiday. They say they haven’t made a decision yet on whether or not to declare a ban as well. 

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