POLK COUNTY — The Oregon State Fire Marshal encourages those celebrating the July Fourth to practice the four “Bs” of firework safety.
“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.”
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 from permitted retailers, here are 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 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.
From 2013-18, there were 1,264 reported fireworks-related fires in Oregon, 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. Those stats don’t include 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. according to OSFM. 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,” Walker said. “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.”
For information about the sale and legal use of consumer fireworks: https://www.oregon.gov/osp/programs/sfm/Pages/Fireworks.aspx#faq.