By Emily Hoard • Staff Writer • 

Fireworks: rules, regulations and dangers

“In these conditions, it could take only one spark to cause chaos,” said Rich Hoover, community liaison in the State Fire Marshal’s Office. 


Before people set off fireworks, he urges them to consider the hot, dry weather, as it increases the potential for fire. 

Rod Nichols, the Oregon Department of Forestry’s public information officer, said fireworks burn extremely hot. “Temperatures generated by even the so-called safe and sane fireworks can ignite grass, tree needles and brush almost instantly in the dry conditions we have,” he said.

Officials suggest keeping fireworks in the city or better yet, going to a fireworks show. “If folks do decide to set off their own fireworks, they should make sure to do it safely and in the right places,” Hoover said.

ALSO: Local Fourth of July events are planned in the following communities.
- McMinnville
- Lafayette
- Willamina

Fireworks sales in Oregon began Tuesday, June 23. Fireworks may be legally purchased only from state-licensed retailers and stands.

The Fire Marshal’s Office has issued 740 retail fireworks permits and 131 display permits.

Oregon law prohibits the sale, possession or use of firecrackers, bottle rockets and Roman candles. It also bars fireworks that explode, fly more than 12 inches into the air or spread more than six feet on the ground.

All fireworks are forbidden on beaches, in campgrounds and in city, county and state parks. And officials are warning residents those rules will be enforced.

Yamhill County Sheriff Tim Svenson said, “Over the years, we’ve done a great job of educating the public and issuing warnings when appropriate. However, with the current fire danger and statewide concerns, we will be taking a zero tolerance stance.”

Law enforcement officers may seize illegal fireworks. Offenders are also subject to fines ranging to $500 per violation, and to potential criminal charges for reckless burning and arson.

In addition, offenders may be assessed for property damage and the cost of suppressing fires. Parents can be held liable for fireworks-related damage caused by their children as well.

Last year, 165 Oregon fires were attributed to fireworks. They caused 33 injuries and $178,000 in property damage.

Between 2010 to 2014, some 839 fireworks blazes resulted in one death, 159 injuries and $3.9 million in property damage.

Debbie McDermott of the McMinnville Fire Department urged special precautions in areas near brush, grasses or barkdust.

“A small ember in barkdust can smolder undetected for hours and creep along under the top layer,” she said. “It can move quite a distance before it breaks into a visible flame.”

She said this often happens late at night or early in the morning, and can cause a significant amount of damage.

McDermott added, “Many people end up taking a trip to the ER for burns or other injuries caused by fireworks, so be careful, pay attention and be prepared in the event the fireworks do get into the brush or dried grasses.”

For more information about fireworks safety, retail sales, fireworks displays and illegal fireworks, visit the state website.

Taking precautions

The state Fire Marshal’s Office lists four “Be’s” for fireworks safety, as follows.

Be prepared: Read and follow label directions and have water available to put out fireworks.

Be safe: Keep children and pets away from fireworks and don’t hold or throw fireworks. Light fireworks outdoors, one at a time, and move away quickly.

Be responsible: Don’t re-light used fireworks or fireworks that malfunctioned. Wait 15 to 20 minutes, then soak them in water before disposing of them properly in a metal container with a lid. Keep the container away from flammable objects.

Be aware: Use only legal fireworks in legal places. Do not use fireworks in state or federal forest lands, state, county and city parks or beaches.



why not ban the fireworks now and save someones life,limb or property and designate a weekend at a later date that's safer and let everyone light up there saved fireworks then?


Ordinarily I don't re-post but I made an exception for the following:

Portland mayor announces total ban on fireworks

PORTLAND -- Portland city officials announced a total ban on Fourth of July fireworks today in response to meteorologists’ predictions of exceedingly hot temperatures forecast for the holiday. Mayor Charlie Hales announced the ban, stating that weather conditions demanded the action. “We felt the risk outweighed the petty pleasure of celebrating the nation’s independence,” said Hales.

Mayor Hales used the fireworks ban as an opportunity to promote the city’s popular “Fatties not Fireworks” campaign. “It’s a matter of safety,” said Hales. “Portlanders will be much safer if they just stay home with their newly-legal marijuana,” he said. The mayor said officials were urging citizens to use their lighters to light up, not light off. “Give me a fat doobie over a scary Chinese incendiary device any day,” Hales said.

Hales brushed aside any concern that smoking marijuana could pose health risks. “Everyone in Portland knows pot is medicine,” he said.

Hales said that he, for one, will not miss the pungent smell of cordite wafting over the streets of his west hills neighborhood. “My family and I will be celebrating the holiday the Portland way -- with some vegan soy fritters and a couple of dime bags,” he said. “Well, maybe more than a couple.”

The ban will remain in effect until September 1.


Listen*Up, the Multnomah County ban on 'Safe & Sane' fireworks, as well as open flame backyard barbeques has been lifted.

Enjoy your Toefoo!


I dunno, miketubbs1, listen*up makes a good point. Why not ban everything with any risk? We could all just stay home and swim. No, wait. Swimming has risk. Maybe we could barbecue. No, that has risk, too.

We could just stay home. being very careful and safe.

The benefits of living in a land where the state doesn't control every aspect of its citizens' lives comes with inherent risk. In my opinion, that risk is worth the reward. But, then, I choose to live with little timidity.


Well stated, Trafik.

I believe the last time I'd ignited fireworks in celebration of the 4th, was back in theearly 90's. But that's just my personal choice. I have absolutely no problem with other Americans using them in celebrating the birth of our nation.


personal fireworks should be banned this year because you just can't fix selfish and stupid,i value my life and property,unfortunately my neighbors do not!


"...i value my life and property, unfortunately my neighbors do not!" ~listen*up

Exactly how did you arrive at such a conclusion?


I would like a ban on all fireworks, especially those before and after the 4th of July.


It's all quite on the Western front out here in Grand Ronde.


It was fairly quite in my neighborhood, too.


I'd like to propose a ban on everything that annoys me. This would include (but certainly not be limited to):

• Drivers who sit at green lights
• Drivers who drive in parking lanes
• Drivers who must build up courage before turning left
• Drivers who consider it a Christian duty to ensure my speed-limit compliance
• Heck, all drivers but me
• People who cannot make up their minds at take-out windows
• Crappy whiskey
• 3.2 beer
• Comb-over hairstyles
• Public restrooms
• Screw caps on wine bottles
• Skycaps (just skycaps, not bellpeople)
• Proponents of monolingual societies
• 65 MPH or less speed limits
• Souped-up 4-cylinder automobiles
• 1980s-era syndicated television reruns
• Cafeteria food
• Any variety of Fritos®
• Red licorice
• People who don't edge their lawns
• Anything relating to Kim and Kanye or Caitlyn Jenner
• Reality shows, especially Big Brother
• People who hate dogs
• People in general

I could go on but, then, I'd have to add people who complain endlessly without offering solutions to my list.


Wow Trafik. I'm surprised that you didn't include burglary and pollution on your list. Or, DUIs and arson? What is your point?


If burglaries, pollutions, DUIs and arsons were banned, I'd need to find a new line of work. Oh, wait. Those are already banned. I thought my point was obvious: those who complain without offering realistic solutions are merely expelling (hot) air the rest of us could be breathing.


"those who complain without offering realistic solutions"? What am I missing? The solution is the ban. Are you looking for a "fix" (as a solution) for people who are obsessed with loud noises (for days around the 4th) or what?

Perhaps the solution would be private fireworks between 8:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. on the 4th and sanctioned public fire works from 10:00 to 11:00 on the 4th.


You make a good point, kona, although my statement was intended as a broader indictment of people who complain (read: manufacture issues where none exist) in general, especially those who do so without offering realistic solutions to these perceived problems. I should've been more specific.

Even though your most recent ban proposal is somewhat more reasonable than your original assertion that you "would like a ban on all fireworks" (the statement to which I reacted), you'd be fighting several hundred years of beloved tradition. The first fireworks display in honor of our country's independence occurred on July 4, 1777.

When I posted my list of annoyances, I did so to make the point that we are all irritated from time to time by the actions or habits of others. It's part of life. Increasingly we're seeing people trying to ban anything they find offensive which is unrealistic, sad and just plain grouchy.

My life would be far less interesting if everything that annoyed me was banned. Quieter and more comfortable, maybe, but a lot less interesting.


Wow--pet peeves are fun. I like reading what bugs others and whether I feel the same. Here are some of mine:
. Lafayette Ave. in the afternoon when the train sits there for 20 minutes inching forward and back. For those of you who welcome more tourists, this is a deal-breaker.
. Service industry people who say they'll be at your house between "8 and 4" and then never show up.
. People who bring their entire family grocery shopping.
. The number of mentally ill here and how my job is to understand them.
. Whoever designed the post office parking lot along with the post office drive-through was nuts.
. Speaking of the post office, when there are 15 people in line and only one window is open yet you can see the rest of them in the back shooting the breeze, I feel a little hot under the collar.
. Ditto the DMV.
. The traffic on Second Street at the intersections of Adams and Baker. Change the duration of lights!
. Hwy 99 and McDaniel--insane.
. All the strip malls--ugly.
. People telling me to be careful out there: life has risks.
. The expressions "give something back" or "pay it forward."
. People who say "I seen" or "we was" or "he don't." Learn Standard English. There's no excuse if you were born here.
. Tattoos or other body art.
. Baseball hats turned backward. Slashes the I.Q. in half.
. The same people in the news--both good and bad.
. And sometimes, what really makes me tired is me.


" And sometimes, what really makes me tired is me." ~Lulu

Not that I am licensed to practice psychiatry, but, my advice to you, Lulu, would be to not try so hard.


Gracious to a fault, Tubbs.


Don't forget the ubiquitous backlit signs here and the overhead utilities, Lulu. Nothing will make a nice little town look trashy faster than those products of good planning.


Thank God I live in Cove Orchard.

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