U.S. Fire Departments urge legal and safe use of fireworks

June 24, 2024

Oregon fireworks season begins with safety message

The 2024 fireworks retail sales season in Oregon begins on June 23 and runs through July 6.

The Oregon State Fire Marshal is urging residents to know which fireworks are legal, where they can be used, and how to use them safely.

Oregon State Fire Marshal Assistant Chief Deputy Mark Johnston said: “We ask Oregonians to be responsible if they plan to use fireworks as part of their celebrations.

“Every year, we see fires and injuries because of improper use of fireworks or illegal fireworks.

“Our message is simple: keep it legal and keep it safe.”

Local governments in Oregon have various restrictions on fireworks sales or usage to minimize the risk of fires, and residents are encouraged to check and follow these regulations.

Legal and safety guidelines for fireworks

Consumer-legal fireworks can only be purchased from permitted retailers and stands.

Fireworks are not allowed in public lands and parks, national parks and forests, Bureau of Land Management lands, U.S. Fish and Wildlife properties, state beaches, state parks, and state campgrounds.

Private lands protected by the Oregon Department of Forestry also prohibit fireworks.

Fire officials recommend practicing the four Bs of safe fireworks use:

  • Be prepared before lighting fireworks by keeping water available.
  • Be safe when lighting fireworks by keeping children and pets away and avoiding dry grass or vegetation.
  • Be responsible after lighting fireworks by soaking duds in water before disposal.
  • Be aware and use only legal fireworks in legal places.

Penalties for illegal fireworks

Oregon law prohibits fireworks that fly into the air, explode, or travel more than 12 feet horizontally without a permit from the state fire marshal.

This includes bottle rockets, Roman candles, and firecrackers.

Violators may face fines up to $2,500 and may be held liable for fire suppression costs or damages caused by misuse.

Parents can be held responsible for fireworks damage caused by their children.

The Oregon State Fire Marshal provides resources on its website regarding the sale and legal use of consumer fireworks, retail sale permits, and state rules for firework use and enforcement.

Los Angeles fireworks regulations and alternatives

The City of Los Angeles prohibits all personal use of fireworks, including those deemed ‘safe and sane.’ The Los Angeles Fire Department recommends attending professional fireworks shows or drone displays as the safest way to celebrate Independence Day 2024.

Several professional fireworks shows are scheduled, including events at El Sereno Recreation Center, Hollywood Bowl, Grand Park, Dodger Stadium, and Marina del Rey.

Additionally, some locations will feature drone displays instead of traditional fireworks.

Residents are urged to report illegal fireworks to the Los Angeles Police Department using an online complaint form.

For those possessing fireworks, the LAPD provides a process to surrender them without penalty by calling the non-emergency number for guidance.

FSJA Comment

As fireworks season approaches, the emphasis on safety and legal compliance is paramount to prevent injuries and fires.

The Oregon State Fire Marshal’s guidelines highlight the importance of responsible fireworks use, with specific instructions on legal purchases and safe handling.

Local regulations further underscore the need for awareness and adherence to laws designed to protect communities and natural areas.

In Los Angeles, the outright ban on personal fireworks use reflects a stringent approach to mitigating fire risks in a densely populated area.

The provision of professional shows and alternative celebrations, like drone displays, offers safe options for residents to enjoy Independence Day festivities.

The coordinated efforts of fire and law enforcement agencies in both states exemplify a proactive stance on public safety during a period traditionally associated with increased fire hazards.

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