Canby Fire Preps for a Covid-Era July Fourth

The Canby Fire District has canceled its annual Fourth of July show this year due to increased fire risk and the continuing coronavirus pandemic — but don’t expect a quiet night. The fire district certainly is not.

“Our past history in Canby is that, without the fireworks display, call volume goes up for fires and emergency medical services,” Canby Fire Chief Jim Davis says.

This increased call volume was actually one of the main motivations for starting the CFD-sanctioned fireworks display five years ago: the thinking being that fewer people would do their own fireworks if a free, professional show was put on in town, and that if anyone’s going to be shooting off explosives during the height of summer — it should be those trained in both fire safety and how to put them out.

Chief Davis announced the decision to nix the show in early May, after the governor ordered the cancellation of all large events through at least September — and likely until a reliable treatment or cure is found for Covid-19.

With the city show not happening, Chief Davis expects to see an increased number of those doing their own celebrations. And, indeed, local fireworks booths like the one operated by the Canby Band Boosters at Hi-Way Marketplace have reported increased demand.

Other factors the CFD expects to contribute to a higher volume of emergency calls this July Fourth are the warmer weather we have seen this week and the fact the holiday falls on a Saturday this year.

To handle the anticipated calls, the fire district will have an additional crew of career firefighters/EMTs on duty Saturday night, along with volunteers staffing the rural station on Highway 170 from 5 p.m. to midnight.

CFD asks that residents use only fireworks that are legal in Oregon for their celebrations, do not block streets or roadways, allow only responsible adults to set off fireworks and keep children away from the explosives.

For Independence Day gatherings that include people from outside your household, Chief Davis reminds residents to practice safe social distancing and wear a face covering to help prevent the spread of Covid-19.

Though the in-person show is canceled, some Canby fireworks will still be on display thanks to CTV Channel 5. The local access station will be showing a high-def recording of last year’s show throughout July Fourth, with a special presentation at 9:30 p.m.

Says CTV Station Manager Gordon Christiansen, “It’s all HD with HQ audio, so watch it on your big screen and don’t forget to crank it up!”

Photo courtesy Jill Plumb.

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