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Fireworks are prohibited on public lands

A Fourth of July celebration wouldn’t be complete without fireworks, but people are encouraged to keep it legal and keep it safe.

“I want to remind all Oregonians that consumer legal fireworks can only be purchased from Oregon permitted fireworks retailers and stands,” State Fire Marshal Jim Walker said in a press release. “And, regulations limit where those fireworks may be used. 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.”

Between 2013-2018 there were 1,264 reported fireworks-related fires, resulting in one death, 26 injuries and more than $3.5 million in property damage, according to the state fire marshal’s office. This does not include incidents on federal and other state lands.

The 2017 Eagle Creek Fire was started by a teen tossing a firecracker in the Columbia River Gorge and grew to nearly 50,000 acres.

If you purchase legal fireworks the Oregon State Fire Marshal encourages people to practice the four Bs of safe use: Be prepared, be safe, be responsible, and be aware.

This includes keeping water nearby, keeping children and pets away from fireworks, never relighting duds, soaking fireworks in water after 15-20 minutes before disposal, and only using legal fireworks in legal places.

Oregon law prohibits possession and sale of any firework that flies into the air or travels horizontally for more than 12 feet, without a permit. Fireworks commonly known as bottle rockets, Roman candles and firecrackers are illegal in Oregon.

For those celebrating on public lands, fireworks and exploding targets are off limits.

Fireworks are banned on national forests at all times, regardless of weather conditions. Fireworks are also prohibited on other public lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service, Oregon State Parks and most county and city parks. Violators can be subject to a maximum penalty of $5,000 and up to six months in jail. Additionally, anyone who starts a wildfire can be held responsible for the suppression costs.

According to a recent study, Oregon is the second most dangerous state in the nation on July 4, based on wildfire and highway road accidents.

Sanne Godfrey can be reached at sgodfrey@nrtoday.com or 541-957-4203. Follow her on Twitter @sannegodfrey.

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Education Reporter

Sanne Godfrey is the education reporter for The News-Review.

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