PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — You can buy fireworks in the area. You just can’t use them right now.
Portland, Milwaukie, Tualatin, Cannon Beach and the entirety of Clark County in Southwest Washington are joining a growing list of areas in the region banning the use of fireworks — legal and illegal — this Fourth of July holiday.
Portland’s announcement came earlier on Tuesday as the region continues to face hot and dry conditions following a three-day stretch of record-shattering triple-digit temperatures and memories of a catastrophic wildfire season in 2020.
“If we don’t take this proactive step now, I fear the consequences could be devastating,” Portland Fire & Rescue Chief Sara Boone said in a statement. “It is not easy to make a decision like this so close to our national holiday but as Fire Chief, I feel I have a higher responsibility to sometimes make unpopular decisions during unprecedented times to protect life, property and the environment.”
They’re also urging people not to call 911 about the fireworks unless there is a fire or medical emergency. Officials said it’s better to avoid conflict on a hot summer night than to be the neighborhood fireworks police.
Portland City Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty, who oversees the Portland Fire & Rescue bureau, said in a series of tweets the ban did not apply to the sale of fireworks, but rather the use of them. She also reminded residents there are fines associated with using them, with the first citation costing someone $500, the second citation $1,000, and the third citation being $2,000.
Earlier this week, Camas and Washougal announced city firework bans, while firework bans were announced last week in La Center and Ridgefield. By Tuesday, Clark County officials issued a county-wide ban in unincorporated areas starting that same day through midnight on July 4. Vancouver has an existing fireworks ban within city limits.
The City of Tualatin also announced a similar ban on Tuesday, while Cannon Beach announced a ban last week.
In Salem, the local Costco pulled fireworks from the shelves on Tuesday. In a statement to KOIN 6 News, officials at the local store said they were asked to remove the products by corporate.