Don't ruin Fourth with illegal fireworks
When using fireworks, the Office of State Fire Marshal, the Oregon Fire Service, natural resource agencies, Oregon licensed fireworks wholesalers, and safety experts all encourage Oregonians to "keep it legal and keep it safe."
The 2019 Oregon fireworks retail sales season opened June 23 and runs through July 6. The Office of the State Fire Marshal and its partners want everyone to know which fireworks are legal to use in Oregon without a permit, where they are permitted to be used, and the important safety steps to take when using legal fireworks.
"I want to remind all Oregonians that consumer legal fireworks can only be purchased from Oregon permitted fireworks retailers and stands," said State Fire Marshal Jim Walker. "And, regulations limit where those fireworks may be used. Fire risk in Oregon is already high, and as the weeks go by, that risk will only increase, so there is no room for error in fireworks safety."
July 4 holiday public land visitors are advised to leave all fireworks at home. The use of fireworks is prohibited on all national forestland, Oregon state parks, and beaches. Residents statewide can still enjoy fireworks at officially sponsored community events.
For residents who purchase legal fireworks, the OSFM encourages everyone to practice the four Bs 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 and then soak it in a bucket of water before disposal.
- Be aware: Use only legal fireworks and use them only in legal places.
Oregon law prohibits the possession, use, or sale of any firework that flies into the air, explodes, or travels more than 12 feet horizontally on the ground, without a permit issued by the OSFM. Fireworks commonly called bottle rockets, Roman candles, and firecrackers are illegal in Oregon, without a permit.
For the last five years through 2018, there were 1,264 reported fireworks-related fires in Oregon recorded by the state's structural fire agencies, resulting in more than $3.5 million in property damage. During that same period, fires resulting from fireworks resulted in one death and 26 injuries.
The data from structural fire agencies do not include incidents that occurred on federal and other state lands.
Officials may seize illegal fireworks and charge offenders with a class B misdemeanor, which could result in a fine of up to $2,500 per violation and a civil penalty of up to $500. 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 consumer legal fireworks and use them carefully," added Walker. "We encourage you to be aware and considerate of neighbors and their pets before deciding on when and where you choose to light legal fireworks."
The OSFM has published answers to frequently asked questions about the sale and legal use of consumer fireworks, permits for the retail sale of fireworks, and state rules for their use and enforcement activities at www.oregon.gov/osp/programs/sfm/Pages/Fireworks.aspx#faq.
OSFM's fireworks education materials for sharing on social media also can be found on its website at www.oregon.gov/osp/programs/sfm/Pages/Fireworks.aspx#education.
Quality local journalism takes time and money, which comes, in part, from paying readers. If you enjoy articles like this one, please consider supporting us.
(It costs just a few cents a day.)