Fourth of July: What fireworks are legal, illegal in Oregon

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By Jim Ryan | The Oregonian/OregonLive 

 

Firecrackers. Roman candles. Bottle rockets.

These fireworks are synonymous with the Fourth of July. But it's against the law to light them without a permit in Oregon, and scofflaws can face significant fines.

With July Fourth on the horizon, here's how Oregonians can have a safe and legal blast on America's birthday, which is coming up next Thursday:

 

Illegal fireworks

 

Unless you have a permit, popular displays such as bottle rockets, firecrackers and Roman candles are against Oregon law, according to the state fire marshal's office. 

The office says that without a permit, Oregon law prohibits the possession, sale or use of any firework that explodes, flies into the air or travels more than 12 feet horizontally on the ground. 

Anyone celebrating the Fourth up north (read: VancouverClark County or elsewhere in Washington) should research local fireworks policies. 

 

Legal fireworks

 

So what fireworks are legal in Oregon? Not many.

Sparklers, smoke devices and fountains are a good place to start. Wheels and ground spinners are OK, too.

And if you happen to enjoy those little poppers that making loud noises when you throw them on the ground, they’re perfectly legal, as well. 

Just use common sense and keep a close eye on kids who are using fireworks. 

 

Fireworks and public lands

 

Areas where fireworks are forbidden include federal and state forestlands, as well as Oregon State beaches, parks and campgrounds, according to the fire marshal's office. 

So if you're planning to celebrate with a camping trip or visit to the beach, it's probably best to leave the fireworks behind.

When in doubt, check with local authorities to see what fire restrictions are in your area. 

 

Penalties

 

We'll let the fire marshal's office take this one:

"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." 

 

Fireworks from other states

 

They’re illegal too. Fireworks used in the Beaver State must be bought here — and from permitted retail fireworks sales spots.

 

Fires

 

Experts predict the coming wildfire season will have higher risks of large, costly fires.  And fireworks can spark wildland blazes, as evidenced by the 2017 Eagle Creek fire — a nearly 49,000-acre wildfire sparked by the reckless teen tossing of a firecracker in the Columbia River Gorge.

“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,” State Fire Marshal Jim Walker said in a statement.

Oregon is also the second most dangerous state on July 4, according to a new rankingthat's based on fire and road accident risk.

The fire marshal’s office offered the following tips for 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.

Pets

Your pooch probably hates the Fourth of July.  The booms, blasts and lights that humans enjoy tend to terrify our furry friends. And the heat doesn't help.  The Humane Society of the United States has advised owners to keep their pets away from fireworks, ask a vet for assistance if their pets are scared by fireworks, protect pets from heatstroke and get them a collar and identification tag. (Even indoor pets should have tags in case they try to escape the noise of fireworks, the nonprofit has said.)

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