The Douglas County Fire Prevention Cooperative is spreading the word to take extra caution this year to not only keep fires from starting, but also to keep everyone safe. The following is a list of fire prevention tips for residents using fireworks.
Keep It Legal
Oregon law prohibits fireworks that fly, explode, or move across the ground more than 6 feet. Fireworks purchased by mail order, in other states or on Native American reservations may be illegal in Oregon. This includes popular items such as bottle rockets, roman candles, firecrackers, and M-80s. To keep it legal, purchase all fireworks at a licensed Oregon fireworks stand.
Under Oregon law, those discharging illegal fireworks can be fined and/or arrested and can have their illegal fireworks seized. In addition, those discharging any type of firework, legal or illegal, can be held liable for damages resulting from their improper use. Oregon law also holds parents liable for damage caused by their children and allows fire agencies to charge for the cost of suppressing fires caused by fireworks.
Keep Fireworks Out of the Forest
Possessing, discharging, or using any kind of firework or other pyrotechnic device on public lands is prohibited year-round, regardless of weather conditions or holidays. In addition, many industrial forest owners also restrict the use of fireworks on their land holdings, all throughout the year. Fireworks are also restricted under DFPA’s Public Use Restrictions. Once Public Use Restrictions go into effect, fireworks are prohibited on all DFPA protected land.
Keep It Safe
- Mishandling fireworks ultimately leads to burn injuries.
- Treat all fireworks with care. Even items considered safe pose safety risks.
- Sparklers, for example, can reach temperatures up to 1800 degrees Fahrenheit and can cause serious burns if not handled properly.
- Please follow these simple steps when using fireworks.
- Only adults should light or handle fireworks.
Never give fireworks to children.
- Store fireworks, matches and lighters out of the reach of children.
- Supervise children at all times when fireworks are being used.
- Use fireworks outdoors on a paved surface, away from buildings, vehicles and vegetation.
- Never point or throw fireworks at people, pets, or buildings.
- Never pick up or try to re-light a “dud”.
- Never alter fireworks or make your own. Homemade explosives can be deadly.
- Have a hose or bucket with water readily available to douse misfired and spent fireworks, and to extinguish potential fires.
- Allow spent fireworks to cool by letting them soak inside a bucket with water before disposing of them.
Leave Fireworks to the Professionals
Restrictions of fireworks are for a good cause. No matter how small or large fireworks may be, they are a potential fire starter. But it is still possible to celebrate and enjoy the holiday. Families can consult the newspaper or local activity calendar and attend one of several approved, licensed fireworks displays around Douglas County.
Individuals concerned about neighbors using fireworks are reminded that Fourth of July festivities result in an increase in activity for all public safety agencies. Because resources are limited, priority must be given to truly hazardous situations. Individuals with a fire or medical emergency should call 9-1-1; other situations should be reported via the non-emergency 9-1-1 number 541-440-4471.