From enjoyment to eyesore: Debris from used fireworks left along roads

Local News

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — You may have heard quite a few fireworks going off in your neighborhood Sunday night. With our on ongoing drought across much of the state, safety officials are reminding everyone to clean up any fireworks debris.

KELOLAND’s Carter Schmidt spent a couple hours Monday morning driving around areas west of Sioux Falls near Ellis Road looking for firework debris. He came across around a dozen spots on gravel roads with items left behind including used bottle rockets, artillery shell tubes, cakes, firecrackers and packaging.

While fireworks are a great way to celebrate Independence Day, leaving the trash behind for someone else to worry about is not.

“It becomes a problem when the property owners and residents of the area are left with cleaning up the mess that is left behind,” Minnehaha County Sheriff patrol sergeant Scott Dubbe said.

Dubbe said shooting fireworks off on a gravel county road is legal; however, people need to make sure they’re cleaning up their debris and not interfering with traffic.

“We’re perfectly fine with that. We want everyone to have fun, but we also want them to clean up and pickup afterwards, that way the people that live nearby aren’t left with the mess,” Dubbe said.

Andy Jorgenson is the owner of Fire Bros Fireworks in Sioux Falls. He said dousing the fireworks in water and disposing of them properly is important to prevent fires and littering.

“Fireworks can leave some shredded paper, shredded cardboard and if you leave it out and about the wind will take it. It goes into the ditches. It stays into the roads. If it gets rained on it starts to, you know, disintegrate into the weeds. We just encourage people that, kind of make sure to collect your items after you’re done shooting them,” Jorgensen said.

In Minnehaha County, Dubbe said you could face a $182 littering citation if you are caught, but it doesn’t have to come to that.

“Just have a good time, be safe about it and just clean up afterward. That’s really all we’re asking,” he said.

State law says people can shoot off fireworks in South Dakota until the first Sunday after July 4, which would be July 11 this year; however, people should check their local ordinances as they can differ for each city or county.

See photos of some trash left behind near Sioux Falls below:

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