Keep fireworks legal, and safe

Be careful with fireworks — or steer clear of the whole self-ignition thing and take in the shows at dusk in Cascade Locks or Hood River.

Hood River News file photo
Be careful with fireworks — or steer clear of the whole self-ignition thing and take in the shows at dusk in Cascade Locks or Hood River.

The Office of State Fire Marshal, Oregon fire service, Keep Oregon Green, natural resource agencies, Oregon fireworks wholesalers, and safety experts encourage Oregonians to “Keep it Legal and Keep it Safe” when using fireworks. The 2016 Oregon fireworks sales season opened Thursday, June 23, and runs through Wednesday, July 6. The OSFM and their partners want everyone to know what fireworks are legal in Oregon, where they are permitted, and the important steps to take for fireworks safety.

“People often forget that legal fireworks can only be purchased from Oregon permitted fireworks retailers and stands,” said Chief Deputy State Fire Marshal Mariana Ruiz-Temple. “And regulations limit where those fireworks may be used. For example, fireworks are prohibited on all Oregon beaches, in parks, and campgrounds.”

July 4 holiday forest visitors are advised to leave all fireworks at home. The use of fireworks is prohibited on all national forestland, and most other public lands.

“Fireworks compound the threat to already dry forests,” said Keep Oregon Green President Kristin Babbs. “Enjoy fireworks where they belong: on the pavement, safely away from houses, vehicles, and flammable vegetation.”

Oregon law bans possession, use, or sale of fireworks that fly, explode, or travel more than six feet on the ground or 12 inches into the air. Fireworks commonly called bottle rockets, Roman Candles, and firecrackers are illegal in Oregon.

There were 227 reported fireworks-related fires in Oregon during 2015, resulting in 28 injuries and more than $423,000 in property damage.

Over the past five years, from 2011 through 2015, there were 924 reported fireworks-related fires in Oregon resulting in one death, 161 civilian injuries, and more than $2.7 million in property damage.

Officials may seize illegal fireworks and fine offenders up to $500 per violation. Those who misuse fireworks or allow fireworks to cause damage are liable and may be required to pay fire suppression costs or other damage.

Parents are also liable for fireworks damage caused by their children.

“All Oregonians share the responsibility to use only legal fireworks and use them carefully,” said Ruiz-Temple.

The OSFM encourages everyone to use the four B’s of safe fireworks use:

• Be Prepared before lighting fireworks: keep water available by using a garden hose or bucket.

• Be Safe when lighting fireworks: keep children and pets away from fireworks.

• Be Responsible after lighting fireworks: never relight a dud. Wait 15 to 20 minutes, then soak it in a bucket of water before disposal.

• Be Aware: use only legal fireworks and use them only in legal places.

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