Due to recent record-breaking extreme heat and current widespread drought conditions, Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue and the Washington County Board of Commissioners (en español) are urging the public to voluntarily restrict the use of any fireworks, even those that are considered legal in the state of Oregon.
Both the Board and TVF&F suggest finding an alternative to celebrating with personal fireworks, such as attending a professional fireworks show that has been permitted for safety, watching an event on television, having a backyard gathering without fireworks or visiting Hagg Lake.
“We understand that Independence Day has special meaning to many people this year as we finally emerge from statewide COVID restrictions,” said Board Chair Kathryn Harrington. “What we’re asking is that everyone consider the great harm and suffering that could occur with even one unintentional fire caused by fireworks during this holiday season. The risk is just too great and we’re pleading with people to consider other ways of celebrating.”
This is normally the busiest time of year for emergency responders and dispatchers, and the recent record temperatures have proven difficult for the most vulnerable in our communities. Do not call 9-1-1 to report fireworks use; it is important that the 9-1-1 system remain available for reporting only active fires, serious medical problems and crimes in progress. To report the use of illegal fireworks—those that explode or fly into the air—call the non-emergency dispatch at 503-629-0111 and be prepared to provide the address location.
Preventing fires requires collective effort and goes beyond fireworks. Visit TVF&R's "Safety First" online newsletter for tips about proper disposal of briquettes, smoking materials and other summer safety information.
In addition to the fire danger, another negative side effect can be harm to fish and our water as fireworks contain heavy metals, chemicals and plastics. Used fireworks should be doused in a bucket of water and thrown in the trash. Cleaning up any firework debris you encounter on the street and sidewalk will help keep it from washing into storm drains and our rivers and streams.
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