Summer is on its way, Missoula. Many people celebrate the sun season in different ways but beware, some of you might be breaking the law.

Can we all just breathe a quick sigh of relief? After seven months of snow, we might actually have a nice spring/summer here in Missoula, and hopefully all over the great state of Montana. How do you celebrate? A campfire in the yard? Maybe a little topless sunbathing? Just be careful, some of these "activities" might be illegal.

Yard Fire Pits: This is a perfect Summer evening "go-to" in Missoula. A group of friends gathered in the backyard with some adult beverages and maybe some burgers. Sounds like a good time to me, right? Well, it also might be illegal. While many of us have done it and continue to do it, it would seem you need a burn permit for any open fires in city limits per the Missoula County website. Now, I've never actually seen anyone get fined, but have witnessed the police investigate a backyard pit fire because of some nose/concerned neighbors, so do it at your own risk.

Nude Sunbathing: This is another confusing Missoula law, considering we used to have a naked bike ride through town every year. The Montana Legislature passed HB0361 which states:

 1.  Public nudity -- allowing public nudity. (1) A person commits the offense of public nudity if the person knowingly appears nude in a public place or in any other place that is readily visible to the public, except a place provided or set apart for nudity. A person or entity commits the offense of allowing public nudity if the person or entity owns, operates, or maintains a public place, except a place provided or set apart for nudity, and knowingly allows a person to appear nude in that place. -Montana Bill 361

So basically if you do it in your fenced backyard, a secluded area, or you aren't intentionally trying to hurt or offend anyone, you should be good.

Loud Music/Live Bands: What kind of backyard Summer party would it be without some great tunes? It might be a small radio, or even a live band, you should know your Missoula noise ordinance law first. We reported on this back in November. Now while this law is rarely enforced (from my experience) it definitely exists, and says you can't have loud music or parties at all. Anything over 60 decibels (about the level of a normal conversation) can be considered breaking the law.

Now, are you going to get hassled by the local authorities by doing any of the above-mentioned? Most likely not. They have their plates full with everything going on in Missoula. So unless you really make your neighbors mad, or offend them, you are probably good to go. Just be respectful, mind the noise, and have a fun, but safe time enjoying your Missoula Summer.

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