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Officials: Where Fireworks Banned in Oregon, Coastline; Heatwave's Extra Concerns

Published 7/02/24 at 7:06 p.m.
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection

(Lincoln City, Oregon) – As the Fourth of July weekend approaches, so does a run of extremely hot and dry conditions, especially for about a third or more of the inland region that will get temps up to 115 degrees (for southern Oregon). Temps over 100 will hit high-population areas of Oregon and officials from all over the region are either urging extreme caution on the use of fireworks, not to use them at all or reminding the public they're banned in some places altogether. (Photo: Lincoln City Fire Department.)

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Oregon State Parks is reminding everyone where fireworks cannot be used, various cities have outright banned any kind of fireworks and many officials are simply urging people not to use them in the first place.

Even the National Weather Service (NWS) that has made the forecasts said using fireworks or the wrong kind of machinery in these conditions is going to have a bad ending for someone.

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“The heat and elevated to critical fire weather conditions will be the theme this week,” the NWS said. “Please avoid anything outdoors that causes sparks or flames. Humans unfortunately cause a majority of wildfires, so anything we can do to prevent fire starts is very important. We hope everyone has a fun and safe Fourth of July!”

Among the towns with bans on all fireworks are Portland, Lincoln City, Cannon Beach, Milwaukie, Eugene, Vancouver and even the north Oregon coast's Rockaway Beach. It's not simply the general Oregon law that anything that flies in the air is illegal, but all fireworks – including sparklers – are banned.

On the beach in 2002: this is illegal

Along the Oregon coast, fireworks are banned year-round on beaches, according to Oregon State Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD), which manages all beaches. They're also not allowed on any federal lands, state parks or state forests.

OPRD spokesman Stefanie Knowlton said even though there's a big body of water right there and you're doing pyrotechnics in the sand, there's good reason for these bans and the fines and penalites.

“Fireworks are prohibited on Oregon beaches because they pose a danger to visitors, coastal wildlife and the landscape,” she said. “High winds, flammable vegetation and the unpredictability of fireworks combine to create a unique hazard particularly in crowded areas. Fireworks also impact sensitive habitat like federally protected Western snowy plover nesting grounds. The debris left behind from fireworks is also a hazard to wildlife. Oregon Parks and Recreation Department encourages visitors to respect fireworks restrictions on the Oregon Coast and in Oregon State Park campgrounds.”

If you are caught using illegal fireworks in Oregon (things that shoot up in the air, explode, etc.), according to the Oregon Fire Marshal: Under Oregon law, officials may seize fireworks, and you may be charged with a class B misdemeanor, which could result in a fine of up to $2,500 per violation and a civil penalty of up to $500.

Portland's run-ins with increased summer fires (which included a deadly apartment fire caused by fireworks) led to a ban on all personal fireworks there in recent years. Eugene banned them in 2022.

Cannon Beach has always had the ban, largely due to the sensitive tufted puffin nests on Haystack Rock.

Fire near Oceanside in 2021 - courtesy photo (Another Driftwood Fire Out of Control on Oregon Coast, Threatens Homes)

Explore Lincoln City just sent out its reminder to those celebrating on the town's copious beaches.

“All personal fireworks are now prohibited everywhere within Lincoln City, including all private and public property. This includes small fireworks like handheld sparklers. Violations will result in fines or prosecution. However, the good news is Lincoln City will still be dazzling you with a professional firework display over Siletz Bay on July 4th!”

That, in the end, is the takeaway from all this: there are plenty of fireworks shows for the firebugs out there. Large metro areas like Portland and Eugene have theirs, as do Lincoln City and Rockaway Beach, along with just about every small and big town in the state. See Full Fourth of July Events for Oregon Coast, 2024

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Courtesy Netarts-Oceanside Fire Department

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Andre' GW Hagestedt is editor, owner and primary photographer / videographer of Oregon Coast Beach Connection, an online publication that sees over 1 million pageviews per month. He is also author of several books about the coast.

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