Clackamas County Enacts Fireworks Ban in Unincorporated Areas

The Clackamas County Board of Commissioners on Thursday voted unanimously to ban all fireworks — including ones normally legal in the state — through July 10 due to extreme temperatures and other conditions that have turned the area into a tinderbox.

The move joins similar actions by cities throughout Oregon — including Portland, Bend, Gresham and Eugene — and calls by many fire agencies and local officials calling on citizens to celebrate Independence Day in other ways on this unusually dry Fourth of July.

In a statement following Wednesday’s vote, Clackamas County Chair Tootie Smith said residents are still recovering from the fires that ravaged the area last Labor Day.

“We’ve already had one fire that evacuated homes in May,” she said. “We cannot have another. The dry conditions and limited water supply put Clackamas County at great risk for devastating wildfires. Any spark has the potential to destroy our community.”

Smith said leaders must “do everything in our normal course of business and in emergencies to protect our community from threats.”

“That is why we placed a ban on fireworks this Fourth of July,” she said. “We appreciate the community’s understanding, cooperation and sacrifice as we work together to protect the place we call home.”

The ban gives the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office authority to issue fines of up to $500 for setting off legal fireworks and $2,500 for illegal fireworks while the prohibition is in effect. Officials urge residents not to call 911 to report the use of fireworks. Please reserve 911 for medical emergencies, fires or if active damage is being done to your property.

The ban applies only to unincorporated areas of Clackamas County. City leaders must enact their own ban to prohibit legal fireworks within city limits. Fire districts do not have the authority to enact such a ban, but Canby Fire was among the first agencies on Monday to begin urging residents to refrain from fireworks displays.

Canby said in a press release Wednesday that while officials will not be following the lead of larger cities in prohibiting fireworks, they urge citizens and visitors to “exercise extreme caution” in their Independence Day celebrations.

The city also reminded residents that the use of illegal fireworks could result in a citation or even criminal prosecution.

“I want everyone to have a happy holiday weekend; however, it is imperative that we are smart about how we celebrate,” Mayor Brian Hodson said in a press release. “We all must prioritize safety and caution in relation to fireworks.”

For those people who have purchased fireworks who wish to discard them, you can drop them off at the Canby Fire District, 221 South Pine Street, for safe disposal.

If you decide to set off fireworks, please keep them away from combustibles of any kind, keep a water source available and an extinguisher nearby, maintain constant adult supervision, and keep all access ways to the property open for emergency equipment and personnel in case of an emergency.

The non-emergency line to report fireworks, burning, or other issues in the Canby area is 503-655-8211. Due to the high number of emergency calls on or near the Fourth of July, callers to these lines may experience significantly delayed response times.

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