Amid wildfire concerns, firefighters and ODF warn against illegal fireworks

With the cancelation of big fireworks shows, local fire departments are warning people to only use legal fireworks in celebrations this year. Firefighters say that people drive our of state every year to buy illegal fireworks. Illegal fireworks, in Oregon, are anything that explodes or launches more than 12 feet in the air.

“If you do have illegal fireworks or fireworks you bought out of state more than likely they’re illegal. Please don’t use them,” says Mark Northrop, Deputy Fire Marshal in District #3. “If they have any questions about their fireworks they can contact us and we can inspect them and let them know.”

Northrop is hoping there’s a decrease in the amount of illegal fireworks this year, because of limited travel due to the pandemic.

While fire season started in Jackson and Josephine Counties in May, the fire danger in southern Oregon has been on the low to medium range. The Oregon Department of Forestry says that will change soon with the expected hot temperatures.

Firework tents open for business on Tuesday and temperatures will near 100 degrees this week. ODF officials are “professionally concerned” about coming fire danger. ODF’s Brian Ballou said recent rain and new plant growth is good for southern Oregon, for now.

“In July, it’s going to all turn brown. It’s going to be available for fuel but for the next week, 10 days, things are looking good, ” said Ballou. Despite hot tempuratures over the weekend and beginning the week, the fire danger is still low. He says this can change in the next week.

“We are always looking out for fireworks caused fires. they always happen,” said Ballou. He added that people are usually careful with fireworks and warned there are big consequences if you don’t.

“If you cause a wildfire, you pay for it. so maybe that’s an added incentive for people to not be careless with their fireworks,” said Ballou. He also said this goes for parents of children who cause wildfires. They will be held financially responsible.

In order to safely use fireworks this year, firefighters say to have a bucket of water on hand, the ability to call 911 and a clear area with no grass or brush to set the fireworks off.

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