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Regional Interests

Despite wildfire risk, fireworks are still allowed in some Southern Oregon areas

People pick out fireworks at TNT Fireworks stand in Beaverton, Ore., Wednesday, July 3, 2019.
People pick out fireworks at TNT Fireworks stand in Beaverton, Ore., Wednesday, July 3, 2019.

As we approach the Fourth of July holiday, many areas in Southern Oregon and Northern California are facing record-breaking temperatures and extreme drought.

Despite the risk of wildfire, many towns and counties in the region are permitting the use of fireworks this Fourth of July.

Tom Fields works with the Oregon Department of Forestry as a Fire Prevention Coordinator. He says the use of fireworks is a huge fire risk, and he advises people to be extremely cautious.

“We’re just asking everyone to raise their fire prevention awareness,” said Fields. “Put their Smokey Bear hat on, and think about the activities that they’re conducting and whether or not that activity is prone to start a fire.”

After last year’s wildfires, many West Coasters have expressed concerns about fireworks being permitted where they live.

Fields says that although fireworks are a holiday tradition, people should think twice before they do anything that could set off a spark.

“It makes complete sense that we do more to prevent fireworks activities,” he said. “And we really should be looking at other ways to celebrate Independence day, especially since Independence day falls in the heart of fire season.”

Fireworks are legal in Jackson, Modoc, Klamath and Siskiyou counties, with some restrictions on the kinds of fireworks it’s legal to buy and use. Fireworks are prohibited on federal land and private forests.

Copyright 2021 Oregon Public Broadcasting