PORTLAND, Ore. — Counties and towns across the Portland-Vancouver metro area are banning fireworks because of the unusually hot temperatures and dry conditions.
Portland hasn't seen any rain for two weeks and the city is coming off three days of record triple-digit heat. Portland has seen only 32% of its normal rainfall since April 1, or just shy of 2.25 inches, KGW meteorologist Rod Hill said Tuesday.
When Portland Fire & Rescue Chief Sara Boone announced Portland's fireworks ban, she said even though a ban is difficult for businesses that depend on fireworks sales or for people who look forward to celebrating the Fourth of July with fireworks, it's the right decision.
"If we don't take this proactive step now, I fear the consequences could be devastating," Boone said.
Here's a look at what counties and towns in the metro area have banned fireworks. This article will be updated every time a new ban is announced:
Mayor Ted Wheeler signed an emergency declaration Wednesday that bans fireworks sales immediately and goes through the end of the Fourth of July holiday weekend. It came one day after Portland Fire & Rescue (PF&R) announced a ban Tuesday morning on all legal and illegal fireworks.
PF&R said that fire investigators won't be patrolling to catch people using fireworks, but they will investigate all fires that have a connection to fireworks.
"If your firework use is found as a cause, you will be held responsible," PF&R said in a news release. "Fireworks use that causes injury or extensive damage can result in heavy fines and/or jail time."
PF&R advised residents to not travel to other areas where fireworks aren't banned to light fireworks.
"I see no boundaries when it comes to the unprecedented fire danger Oregonians face this year," Boone said. "Neighboring and coastal communities have even fewer resources to deal with wildfires than Portland does and I’m asking our residents to please not put them at risk. Coastal communities have not banned fireworks and make for an attractive destination during the heat, but they’re asking their own residents to refrain from fireworks use this year. I encourage Portlanders to support all of our neighbors in keeping their communities safe."
Gresham City Council banned the use of all fireworks effective immediately. Gresham police can issue a fine up to $2,500 for violations of the city’s emergency order.
Residents are asked to use the non-emergency police number to report fireworks at 503-823-3333. Only call 911 if there is an active fire.
Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury signed an emergency declaration that bans the sale and use of all fireworks. The ban applies only to the unincorporated areas of Multnomah County. Cities in Multnomah County must pass firework bans on their own. The ban is in effect for 30 days. Any person who violates the order could be fined up to $500.
Multnomah County Sheriff Mike Reese said deputies will take an "education-first approach," but will increase patrols over the holiday weekend. Residents can report fireworks use by calling the non-emergency line at 503-823-333. Do not call 9-1-1 to report the use of fireworks.
Clackamas County commissioners banned fireworks in unincorporated parts of the county through July 10 at their board meeting July 1. The ban goes into effect immediately.
"Our residents are still recovering from the fires that ravaged our community last Labor Day We’ve already had one fire that evacuated homes in May. We cannot have another," Board chair Tootie Smith said in a statement.
Clark County announced a ban on the sale and use of fireworks in the unincorporated area of the county beginning Tuesday through midnight on July 4, when the legal use of fireworks would normally end.
"We’ve had an unusually dry spring for the Pacific Northwest," said Clark County Fire Marshal Dan Young. "That coupled with a record-breaking heat wave led to conditions that increase our fire danger risk in Clark County."
Local jurisdictions in Clark County have also banned fireworks, including the cities of Battleground, Ridgefield, La Center, Camas and Washougal. Vancouver already has an existing fireworks ban within city limits.
Estacada temporarily banned all fireworks in city limits on Tuesday.
"In the interest of public safety, past wildfires and the threat of fire due to recent hot and dry weather conditions, the City of Estacada via unanimous vote has elected to ban all fireworks in the city limits," Estacada Fire District said on social media.
Firefighters will be patrolling the city and surrounding area to discourage the use of fireworks and educate the public on the hazards of fireworks.
To report the use of fireworks, residents are asked to call the city's nonemergency number at 503-655-8370 and save 911 for emergencies only.
The Tualatin City Council unanimously passed an emergency resolution that bans the use of fireworks in the city of Tualatin through July 9. Tualatin city councilor Valerie Pratt said the ban was passed "due to concerns of increased likelihood of fire damage from the use of fireworks due to the current dry and hot conditions."
Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue (TVF&R) is urging people not to use fireworks this year.
"Seek a different alternative to celebrate," said chief Cassandra Ulven. "We're really all going to have to work together in these unprecedented times to prevent wildfires and emergencies in our region...Make good choices, care for one another, and celebrate safely.
The agency does not have the legal authority to issue a fireworks ban, but some cities in the region, like Tualatin, have already banned fireworks or are considering it.
Clackamas Fire also sent out a similar message to the community, urging people to hold off from using fireworks this year, despite some municipalities allowing them.
The city declared a local state of emergency due to ongoing extreme heat and high wildfire risk, which immediately bans the use of legal and illegal fireworks in Milwaukie.
Under the emergency order, the use of any fireworks is a civil infraction subject to a fine of up to $1,000 for each violation. Milwaukie police officers will be patrolling on July 4 to watch for any potentially dangerous situations.
"If the $1,000 fine isn't incentive enough, please show some compassion for our veterans with PTSD," said Milwaukie mayor Mark Gamba. "I'm sure everyone can think of creative new ways to celebrate our independence from British rule, and your pets will thank you."
The city of West Linn has declared a local state of emergency and is prohibiting the use of all fireworks within city limits through July 13.
West Linn police will have extra officers enforcing the ban over the Fourth of July weekend. Fireworks may be confiscated and people who violate the ban could be fined up to $2,500 per violation, in addition to facing criminal charges. West Linn residents who want to report illegal fireworks should call the non-emergency police line at 503-625-0238.
The Tigard City Council passed an emergency declaration to mitigate the risk of fire danger. Following the resolution, the city council voted to ban the use of all fireworks within city limits until July 9. People who violate the ban could be fined $1,000 per violation.
The Newberg City Council declared a local state of emergency that includes a ban on all fireworks through July 19. The state of emergency will last through August 1. Newberg-Dundee police will have extra officers on patrol through the holiday weekend. Fireworks may be confiscated and violators will be sujbject to fines. Newberg residents who wish to report illegal fireworks use should call the non-emergency police line, 503-538-8321.