Fireworks permit revoked for 50th annual Roughrider Days

In a statement, the Roughrider Commission announced on Thursday, July 1, that the Dickinson Fire Department have revoked their fireworks display permit as a result of severe drought conditions.

According to City of Dickinson ordinance, “fireworks” include anything using fire as an ignition source, including but not limited to, bottle rockets, firecrackers and even sparklers. (Dickinson Press file photo)
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Fourth of July celebrations in the drought-gripped Stark County face challenges, as various communities are banning firework displays amid wildfire concerns. While some in Dickinson are praising the revocation of the Roughrider Days firework display permit, others say they are impeding much needed normalcy in a post-COVID time.

"The Dickinson Fire Department Fire Marshal, Mark Selle, just announced the permit for the Roughrider Days fireworks display has been revoked due to severe drought conditions," Fatty Heinz, Roughrider Commissions fireworks chair, said. "It's unfortunate, but a good decision for sure. The priority of any public fireworks display is safety. Cancelling a show of this magnitude is in the best interest of everyone considering the sever drought conditions in this area."

Heinz added, "We sincerely apologize to the area residents and visitors who planned on attending and remind everyone the use, possession and sale of fireworks within the city is strictly prohibited. It's important we all respect the Fire Marshal and Dickinson Fire Department's decision to keep our community and the people who live here safe."

Heather Taylor, who lives in Dickinson, said she was happy with the decision.

"Thank you for protecting Dickinson," she said.


While others, like Anthony Johnson of Dickinson said the fireworks will happen regardless and wished that professionals would host a display for residents.

"That will cause more people to shoot more at home. There is going to be fireworks this year," he said. "Now it will just be by amateurs. Sad day in Dickinson."

The cancellation, originally scheduled to be held July 4th at the former DSU Rodeo Grounds, marks consecutive years without a professional fireworks display in Dickinson, the last being held in 2019.

The decision by the Dickinson Fire Department and Marshal Selle comes as the University of Nebraska-Lincoln drought monitor lists Dickinson and Stark County as being in "severe drought," — the third highest level of warning.

Much of the western United States are experiencing temperatures more than 30 degrees above normal, with the western half of North Dakota remaining in intense drought condition.

Ongoing wildfires affected much of western North Dakota and South Dakota, exasperated by unusually low snow fall during the winter months.

The affected area of drought grew by close to 30% in May and June thanks to persistent dry conditions and high winds, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.

Despite the cancellation of the fireworks display at the Roughrider Days in Dickinson, other area communities have said that they are moving forward with their fireworks displays, including the city of Gladstone who will host a fireworks display tonight, July 1.


The event will begin at dark, or approximately 9:30 p.m., and will be held at the fire hall.

City officials in Gladstone thanked their volunteer fire department for ensuring the event could continue unimpeded, despite the ongoing conditions.

As of 7 p.m. MDT, firefighters reported that 15% of the fire had been contained, coming at a lofty cost of an estimated 9,600 acres burned. Responders remarked that good progress on fire containment was being made in spite of difficult terrain and red flag conditions. (Josiah C. Cuellar / The Dickinson Press)

James B. Miller, Jr. is the Editor of The Dickinson Press in Dickinson, North Dakota. He strives to bring community-driven, professional and hyper-local focused news coverage of southwest North Dakota.
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