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Local officials say despite rain, fireworks still not allowed

The Stark County burn ban is still in place and officials ask that people do not set off fireworks or use any type of object, such as sparklers, that give off spark or embers. (iStock photo)

Dickinson received some rain on Sunday night, but Stark County Emergency Manager Bill Fahlsing said the county's burn ban is still in effect and using fireworks is still prohibited.

"(We want people to) have a safe and happy holiday, but keep in mind of the dry conditions," he said. "It's not just fireworks. It's campfires, unnecessary off-road travel and things such as that."

The burn ban means no materials may be burned that would produce ash or embers — such as campfires, controlled burns, charcoal grills or smokers. Natural gas or propane are permitted. No fireworks are allowed during the burn ban, including sparklers.

It is a Class B misdemeanor to shoot off fireworks in city limits, regardless if there is a burn ban in place. The citation can result in a $1,500 fine and/or 30 days in jail.

The Dickinson airport received 0.27 inch of rain on Sunday, according to the National Weather Service in Bismarck. Dickinson Fire Chief Bob Sivak said that amount is not nearly enough to lift the county's ban. Temperatures are expected to soar into the upper 90s on Tuesday and Wednesday, with temperatures staying in the mid-80s to low 90s into the weekend.

The forecast also looks very dry for the area, with only small chances of precipitation this weekend.

"As nice as (the rain) might have been in some spots, it wasn't adequate or enough for the county burn ban to be lifted," Sivak said. "The city of Dickinson, by law, follows the county burn ban. It's nice that we've gotten some (rain). It's been beneficial, but it hasn't been enough to lift the burn ban."

Dickinson Fire Marshal Mark Selle announced last week that the permit for the Roughrider Days fireworks display at the old DSU rodeo grounds has been revoked due to severe drought conditions. This is the first time in over 20 years that the annual fireworks show has been shut down due to dry conditions.

Dickinson Police Capt. David Wilkie said the police department has received about 16 fireworks-related calls since June 25, a number that is very low for this time of year.

Wilkie said he believes people are also policing themselves

"The fines have gone up, that I think playing a huge factor," he said. "We've got a burn ban on, fireworks are still illegal in the county and the city. Don't do it, just don't do it. Everybody's citing for it. There's going to be a no tolerance for fireworks."

Fahlsing said if people in the neighborhood are setting off fireworks, they should call the non-emergency number for Dickinson police, which is 701-456-7759. If a fire breaks out, people should call 911.

Sivak said Dickinson residents have been checking with the department about the ban, which is impressive and important.

"I think the community, the citizens, really need to be commended for that," he said. "We've been receiving a lot of phone calls from people asking, 'Can we do fireworks? Can I use my backyard fire pit?' We've unfortunately had to tell them that the conditions have not changed to where the fire patio fireplace can be used or anything like that. Everybody has been so understanding, so accepting of the situation we're in. They really deserve a pat on the back for that."

Sydney Mook

Sydney Mook has been covering higher education at the Grand Forks Herald since May 2018. She previously served as the multimedia editor and cops, courts and health reporter at the Dickinson Press from January 2016 to May 2018.  She graduated from the University of South Dakota with a bachelor's degree in journalism and political science in three and half years in December 2015. While at the USD, she worked for the campus newspaper, The Volante, as well as the television news show, Coyote News. She also interned at South Dakota Public Broadcasting and spent the summer before her senior year interning in Fort Knox for the ROTC Cadet Summer Training program. In her spare time, Sydney enjoys cheering on the New York Yankees and the Kentucky Wildcats, as well as playing golf. If you've got an idea for a video be sure to give her a call!

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