PORTLAND – Fireworks officially went on sale in Oregon Monday and as Independence Day approaches, the State Fire Marshal also issued reminders on the dangers of illegal explosives.
Dry weather has made for flammable conditions and wildfires in Central Oregon have come early this year.
A fireworks stand at the QFC at 7525 Southwest Barnes Road opened for business Monday afternoon. But even in Portland’s West Hills conditions are very dry and prime for fires.
Last year, fireworks started 26 fires in Portland, according to fire officials.
“I think everyone's aware that it's been very dry this year … and we really need to be cautious,” said Chief Erin Janssens of Portland Fire & Rescue. “Not only of structure fires but any fire that can be started in grasslands or in trees.”
Legal fireworks in Oregon are required to stay on the ground, reducing their risk of getting out of control. Illegal types include aerial fireworks and explosives, like bottle rockets.
Last year, David Jenkins of Medford lit an illegal bottle rocket that didn’t go off. After an hour he picked it up, it exploded and blew his hand into three pieces.]
On Monday, the state released a handful of safety tips and warnings:
- Keep place pets indoors; they are easily frightened by fireworks.
- Fireworks are prohibited on all beaches, state parks and state or federal forests.
- Thoroughly soak used fireworks in a bucket of water
Fire officials said legal fireworks have fuses on the top. If the fuse is on the bottom, it's probably illegal and more dangerous. Fines can be up to $1,000.