SALEM, Ore. – Fire potential remains high through the 4th of July weekend. The continued drought, recent heatwave, and forecasted hot temperatures means there is more need for caution.
Oregon’s State Fire Marshal (OSFM) Mariana Ruiz-Temple and the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) Chief of Fire Protection Doug Grafe ask people to be mindful of these conditions when celebrating the holiday. Before lighting off fireworks, they encourage people to know when and where it is allowed.
During fire season it is illegal to use fireworks on ODF-protected lands. While enjoying the forests or outdoors here are ways you can help prevent fires:
- Skip the campfire – it’s already hot enough
- Use a camp stove for cooking
- Don’t use fireworks – enjoy a community’s firework display instead
- Stay on the roads – heat from vehicles can easily start grass on fire
- Don’t smoke – if you do, put the butts out and dispose of them properly
- Don’t use anything with open flame or that could cause sparks
- Check trailer chains to ensure they don’t drag along the road
“The continued drought, coupled with the current weather means everything including forests are extremely dry,” Grafe said. “It’s been a tough year. We have a lot to celebrate this 4th of July. While we do that, I ask you to help prevent fires, which helps protect our forests, communities, and firefighters.”
This year, some Oregon cities and counties put restrictions in place on the use of fireworks through the weekend. If using legal fireworks in communities where they’re allowed, always have a bucket of water on hand to drown spent or used fireworks, have a charged hose nearby, and never light fireworks near dry grass or areas that could catch fire easily.
“Please check with your local municipality, fire service agency, or county on the local laws where you will celebrate the holiday,” Ruiz-Temple said. “Safety of those in Oregon is not only a priority for those who live, work and visit, but for our firefighters as well. We ask that you follow all restrictions and help us in being safe and responsible this holiday weekend.”
In Oregon, it’s illegal to possess, use, or sell fireworks that fly into the air, explode, or travel more than 12 feet horizontally on the ground without a permit. The OSFM can issue permits. Bottle rockets, Roman candles, and firecrackers are illegal without a permit. Officials may seize illegal fireworks and charge offenders with a class B misdemeanor with a fine of $2,500 per firework. A person misusing or causing damage using fireworks can be required to pay firefighting costs and for other damage. Parents are liable for fireworks damage caused by their children.