MultCo, ClackCo join growing list of areas to ban fireworks

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Oregon Gov. Kate Brown declared state of emergency due to imminent wildfire threat

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Gresham and Clackamas County are the latest areas to ban fireworks ahead of the Fourth of July weekend.

Along with Gresham and Clackamas County, Portland, Milwaukie, Tualatin, Cannon Beach and the entirety of Clark County in Southwest Washington are part of a growing list of areas in the region banning the use of fireworks — both legal and illegal.

Late Thursday afternoon, Multnomah County also banned the sale and use of fireworks for 30 days, effective immediately.

Chair Deborah Kafoury signed the emergency declaration within the unincorporated areas of Multnomah County. Each city within the county must pass this declaration individually, officials said.

Both Gresham and Clackamas County’s bans are effective immediately. Gresham police can issue a fine of up to $2,500 for violations, while Clackamas County will issue $500 citations for violations. Multnomah County could issue a $500 fine as well, and Sheriff Mike Reese said there will be extra patrols urging people “to celebrate responsibly and in compliance with the fireworks ban.”

“I urge residents to celebrate responsibly with family and friends, with food and games, and in compliance with the fireworks ban, so that we may all enjoy a safe and fire-free Independence Day,” Gresham Fire Chief Mitch Snyder said. “I urge residents to celebrate responsibly with family and friends, with food and games, and in compliance with the fireworks ban, so that we may all enjoy a safe and fire-free Independence Day,” Gresham Fire Chief Mitch Snyder said. 

Pastor Jay Jones of the Family Pentecostal Church of God said they use the sale of fireworks to send kids to camp and feed the homeless.

For his church “and small churches like us who run these stands, it’s devastating.”

Customer Keith Altemus was more direct.

“It sucks. But it’s been super hot, so it makes sense. We can’t have fires going on,” Altemus said.

Meanwhile, the Beaverton City Council voted to not ban the use of fireworks for the weekend. The city is instead imploring residents to voluntarily restrict fireworks usage and to stay safe if they do choose to light any.

Over in Portland, city officials announced a ban on the sales of fireworks the day after announcing the use of fireworks was banned. The emergency declaration was signed by Mayor Ted Wheeler Wednesday afternoon as a result of continuing dry conditions and hot weather.

In a statement, Wheeler said the decision “doesn’t come easily” but it’s a matter of safety.

“With the recent historic, once-in-a-millennium heatwave and the forecast for continued warm weather, saving lives and property are a top priority,” he said.

Camas and Washougal have also banned the sale of fireworks.

Also on Wednesday, Oregon Governor Kate Brown declared a state of emergency due to the imminent threat of wildfires across the state.

Over the past week, a historic heatwave rolled through the Pacific Northwest, bringing high temperatures and worsening already dry conditions. Although we’ve now passed the threshold of three-digit temperature days, there is still no rain in the extended forecast. The governor says much of the state is in high or extreme fire danger with red flag warnings in effect.

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