Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue officials are concerned about fire potential with particularly dry conditions and high temperatures.
Fire Marshal Steve Forster states, “Since 2010, TVF&R has had 93 fireworks-related fires causing over $2 million in damage. This is significant when you realize that fireworks are only on sale for less than two weeks a year.” One of the most common fires that TVF&R responds to involves "spent" fireworks placed in a bucket or grocery sack that rekindle and spread to fences, decks, and even homes.
Citizens can drop off any unwanted fireworks (illegal or legal) at any TVF&R fire station for disposal.
Instead of lighting your own fireworks, citizens can attend a professional display.
Shows in TVF&R’s service area:
• Cook Park, 17005 SW 92nd Ave. in Tigard
• Willamette Park, 1100 12th St. in West Linn
If you’re intent to use fireworks, keep it legal.
Oregon law bans fireworks that fly, explode, or move across the ground more than six feet or up in the air more than 12 inches. This includes popular items like bottle rockets, roman candles, firecrackers, and M80s.
Keep it safe.
Many of TVF&R’s firework-related fires are caused by careless use or improper disposal of legal fireworks. Chief Forster adds, “Our fires involve both illegal and legal fireworks. Just because it’s legal, doesn’t mean it’s 100 percent safe.” This includes sparklers. They can reach temperatures of 1,200 degrees; wood burns at 575 degrees, while glass melts at 900 degrees (National Fire Protection Association).
TVF&R offers these safety tips:
• Only adults should light or handle fireworks. Supervise children at all times.
• Store fireworks, matches, and lighters out of the reach of children.
• Use fireworks outdoors on a paved surface, away from buildings, vehicles, and vegetation.
• Never pick up or try to re-light a "dud."
• Never alter fireworks or make your own.
• Have a hose nearby in case of fire and place “spent” fireworks in a metal bucket with water.
In an effort to help curb illegal activity, TVF&R firefighters will be driving through neighborhoods the evening of July 4 to share safety information. In addition, TVF&R deputy fire marshals will be present at public displays and will be riding with local law enforcement officers to assist with their enforcement efforts.
There are penalties for misusing fireworks.
Law enforcement agencies enforce criminal laws related to the use of illegal fireworks in Oregon. Under Oregon law, officers can seize illegal fireworks and issue criminal citations including reckless burning, criminal mischief, reckless endangerment and more with fines up to $500 per violation. People can also be held civilly liable for damages resulting from improper use of any fireworks - legal or illegal.
Individuals needing to report a fire or medical emergency should call 9-1-1; individuals wishing to report a nuisance or concern about illegal fireworks should do so via the non-emergency 9-1-1 number, 503-629-0111. These situations will be logged, passed on to local law enforcement, and responded to as resources allow.