Friday, June 27, 2014

Use Fireworks with Care

The Fourth of July, Independence Day, is a week away and southwest Oregon residents will soon be celebrating with the bangs, booms and crackles of fireworks. It is also time for caution. Fireworks can cause wildfires if not used sensibly and legally.

Never use fireworks in areas where there is flammable vegetation, and there's plenty of it Jackson and Josephine counties' wildlands and forests. A lit sparkler carried by a child running through dry grass will set the grass on fire. Guaranteed. Sparks can ignite dry brush -- blackberries, manzanita and buckbrush -- which can quickly escalate into a dangerous wildfire.

Because fireworks are not allowed in Oregon's forests and wildlands during fire season -- or at any time in state and county parks and campgrounds, national forests and parks, and in the Wild and Scenic Section of the Rogue River -- a wildfire caused by fireworks can result in a citation or a bill for the fire suppression costs. And parents are financially responsible for wildfires caused by their children.

Use fireworks at home in a fire-safe area, such as a concrete driveway, a green lawn or a large patch of bare earth. Have a charged garden hose or a bucket of water at the site where fireworks will be used. Supervise children using fireworks. If a fire starts that you cannot control, call 9-1-1 immediately.

For tips on using fireworks safely, see the websites hosted by the Rogue Valley Fire Prevention Cooperative and the Oregon State Fire Marshal.

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