Fireworks laws in Ore. and Wash.


by Teresa Blackman, staff

Posted on June 29, 2010 at 12:12 PM

Updated Monday, Jul 1 at 1:40 PM

PORTLAND – Anyone caught shooting off illegal fireworks in Oregon or Washington state could face a $1,000 fine and jail time, according to authorities.

Fireworks vendors sell many legal options including cone fountains, smoke bombs, snakes, snaps, caps, party poppers and other similar products.

The Oregon State Police Web site described illegal fireworks as anything that explodes, ejects balls of fire, flies into the air, or travels more than 12 inches into the air.

More: Oregon fireworks rules

Specifically, the site listed the following types of illegal fireworks: crazy jacks, jumping jacks, missile rockets, sky rockets, aerial spinners, bees, helicopters, mortars, bottle rockets, firecrackers, roman candles, and silver salute M100s.

Last year, authorities seized hundreds of illegal fireworks and issued citations. Police said this year's efforts will continue with an emphasis of the zero tolerance stance in Portland and surrounding communities.

"Aside from the extreme fire and safety issues, we are responding to complaints over the noise, smoke and debris in the streets, and many cases of frightened and lost pets,” said Steve Campbell, the Director of Community Services & Public Safety in Happy Valley.

Portland firefighters responded to 45 fires caused by fireworks around the holiday last year. In all of Washington state, there were 1,036 fires caused by fireworks in 2009 and 200 injuries.

More: Fireworks safety tips

Washington law sets specific times when people can shoot off legal fireworks. The law orders that fireworks only be discharged between the hours of  9 a.m. to 11 p.m. on June 29 through July 3rd.  On July 4th, they can be set off between 9 a.m. and midnight.

Washington law stipulates that only "common fireworks" will be considered legal and may be possessed or discharged.

More: Wash. fireworks rules

"All firecrackers, salutes, chasers, skyrockets and bottle rockets are illegal to either possess or discharge. It is also illegal to obtain fireworks via mail order or via public transporter. Large devices commonly known as M-80s, M-1000s or home made devices are also illegal. Possession of these types of devices is a felony and may also violate state and federal explosive statutes," a statement on the government Web site explained.

In both states, it is against the law to shoot off fireworks in state parks or beaches.  All fireworks also remain illegal in national forests, and forest employees have been told to confiscate any fireworks they discover. People in possession of fireworks in the forests can be fined up to $5,000 or may spend up to six months in jail if convicted. Anyone convicted of starting a wildfire could be held liable for suppression costs, which are sometimes up to about $100,000.