PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Though the burn ban remains in effect in Multnomah County, officials on Wednesday said there will be no ban on legal fireworks.
The issue over whether conditions were too dangerous to allow fireworks over the 4th of July holiday caused officials to deliberate for days.
The order bans all open-flame burning within the borders of the county. This includes the cities of Portland, Gresham, Corbett and Sauvie Island.
The ban is in effect until further notice.
A large area of Oregon is also under a burn ban.
The city of Portland banned fireworks for a brief time on June 26 when the winds made even legal fireworks too dangerous. If similar conditions re-appear, that ban may also come back.
“If we believe the threat is exceeding our ability to respond effectively to protect you, your family, your property and the environment we may end up having to do that again,” Portland Fire Chief Erin Janssens told KOIN 6 News.
A city initiative called Lower the Boom has cut down on fireworks-related fires. Over 4 years, there has been a 30% decrease in fires caused by fireworks, and a 40% reduction in similar fires on July 4th.
Over the past three years, Portland Fire and Rescue issued more than 400 citations for illegal fireworks. In the past two years, firefighters issued 282 citations totaling nearly $150,000.
“We’ve got a commitment between Portland Fire & Rescue and Portland Police to do all that we can to help stamp that down and gain control and eventually change our culture,” Janssens said.
Oregon fireworks, when used under the right conditions — without the wind, away from dry vegetation, with ample water nearby — are safe to use even in the heat, the chief said.
The Vancouver Fire Department has taken measures to reduce fireworks-related fires. People can only fireworks in Washingotn Thursday, Friday and Saturday. In Vancouver, they can only be lit from 9 a.m. to midnight on July 4.
Report Illegal Fireworks
To report illegal fireworks in Portland, call 503.823.BOOM (2666) during peak fireworks periods. The number will be staffed by firefighters.
If there is an actual fire or some other emergency, you should still call 911.