Wet spring means fireworks in Forest Grove this July
Small fireworks should be allowed in Forest Grove again this July 4, weather permitting.
Last summer, Forest Grove Fire & Rescue issued an emergency ban on fireworks due to winds, humidity and dry ground fuels.
With the wet spring and start to summer, though, holiday celebrations may be allowed to have some pop.
"As far as fire danger goes, we're looking at fuel moisture to know how risky things are, and the fuel moistures for some of the heavier forest products are at the levels we would typically see in early in April," said Fire Marshal Dave Nemeyer. "I don't even envision us having a burn ban for weeks."
State law prohibits fireworks that travel more than 6 feet on the ground or 12 inches in the air, meaning common bottle rockets, Roman candles and firecrackers are illegal. However, they can be purchased in Washington.
Small fireworks like sparklers or "ground blooms" are allowed.
"Speaking for veterans, especially, and pets, I'm all in favor of fireworks, but I'm very much against illegal fireworks, because it has the most impact and greatest harm onto those affected by loud noises," said Tim Rippe, a Forest Grove city councilor and candidate for mayor this year. Rippe served for over two decades in the U.S. Army.
Fireworks shows in Oregon require a specific permit from the state fire marshal.
Retail firework sales in Oregon are only allowed June 23 to July 6, and permits are issued by the state and reviewed locally by Forest Grove Fire & Rescue.
Nemeyer said three firework stand in Cornelius, one stand in Forest Grove and a few retailers have received permits this year.
Forest Grove city code allows fireworks inside city limits over the New Year's holiday, from 11 p.m. to 12:30 a.m., as well as from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. both July 3 and July 4, as well as the Friday and Saturday during the weekend closest to Independence Day, meaning fireworks are also allowed on July 2 this year.
Nemeyer said once you're done with your fireworks, soak them in water overnight before disposing of them.
"The biggest risk we have is people aren't disposing them properly. Over 20 years, the most devastating firework fires I've investigated are because people don't dispose of legal Oregon fireworks," Nemeyer said. "After your show, soak them in water. Soak them overnight and throw them away the next day. Regardless of the weather, if you dispose of them improperly, you're going to start a fire."
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