Fireworks in Lake Oswego

Skip the Risk – Celebrate July 4th without Fireworks

With record-breaking heat and dry conditions, we are urging people to not use fireworks this year. This is normally one of the busiest time of year for emergency responders and dispatchers without record temperatures. Please consider ways to celebrate the 4th of July safely and without fireworks this year for the sake of our community and firefighting crews.

Please consider celebrating Independence Day without fireworks. We all can make a difference in keeping our community fire safe.

Fireworks raise many concerns for the safety and wellbeing of senior citizens, military veterans, animals, and community members at large. Fireworks - legal and illegal - cause millions of dollars in fire and property damage per year. Along with property damage, fireworks can cause serious burns and injuries. The safest way to avoid fireworks related fires, injuries, and property damage is not to use fireworks.

Fireworks - What You Should Know

Why haven't we enacted a ban?

With urban wildfires becoming more prevalent over the past few years and knowing we could be impacted by a wildfire, in May Lake Oswego City Council adopted local Ordinance 2870. Ordinance 2870 allows the Fire Chief or Fire Marshal to temporarily ban the sales and use of legal ground-based fireworks and other flame or spark producing activities when we are in “Extreme” fire risk, which is determined through National Fire Danger Rating (NFDR) System. 

We use the NFDR system to base our decision off scientific experts in the field. The fire experts analyze weather conditions, humidity, wind, and several other factors during the modeling to understand the risk levels.

At this time, Lake Oswego is in “High” Risk, one level below “Extreme.”

Our Fire Chief and Fire Marshal are working closely with the Oregon Department of Forestry, District 13 to evaluate our risk level every day. If we do increase to “Extreme” risk as determined through the NFDR, we can enact our ban – either partially or in its entirety. 

What are legal fireworks?

Legal fireworks in Oregon can be sold from June 23 through July 6 of each year. State-legal fireworks can be purchased from licensed retailers during this time period. Fireworks that are legal under state law include items like: sparklers, cone fountains, wheels, base fountains, and ground bloom flowers.

What are illegal fireworks?

Illegal fireworks under State of Oregon law are any fireworks that explode, fly into the air, or travel more than six feet on the ground or 12 inches into the air. Illegal fireworks include but are not limited to: bottle rockets, roman candles, firecrackers, and mortars.

In May 2013, the City of Lake Oswego enacted City Ordinance 2621 to address the sale, possession, or use of certain fireworks within the City limits. While it has always been illegal to sell, possess or use these same fireworks in the State of Oregon, this new ordinance makes those actions a City Code violation, which can result in a presumptive fine of $295 or up to $500.

Ordinance 2870 – Allowing Temporary Ban on Fireworks When Conditions are “Extreme”

Adopted May 2021, our local Ordinance 2870 allows the Fire Chief or Fire Marshal to temporarily ban the sales and use of legal ground-based fireworks and other flame or spark producing activities when we are in “Extreme” fire risk, which is determined through National Fire Danger Rating (NFDR) System.

We use this system to base our decision off scientific experts in the field. The fire experts analyze weather conditions, humidity, wind, and several other factors during the modeling to understand the risk levels.

How can I make sure my house is safe?

We are urging people to not use fireworks this year. The safest way to avoid fireworks related fires, injuries, and property damage is not to use fireworks.

Make sure and provide a defensible space around your home that will help stop or slow down the spread of a fire. Clean roofs and cutters from any leaves or pine needles and limb up any trees above your house. Create a barrier between your house and the vegetation around your yard by trimming back branches and rake up all combustible leaves. Even bark chips can spread fire so use non-combustible materials directly around your house like sand, bricks or rocks.

What if I am worried about my neighbor?

If you are worried about neighbors setting off fireworks, speak with them before the 4th of July. Share your concerns and ask to have alternative celebrations.

To report the use of illegal fireworks, call our non-emergency dispatch at 503-635-0238.

When to call 911

There are limited phone lines for emergency services. Please only call 9-1-1 if you are experiencing an in-progress emergency that threatens life or is actively damaging your personal property. Calling 9-1-1 because you hear or see fireworks in the distance, at an unknown location, ties up these important lines and may delay emergency response to others in need. 

Lake Oswego's non-emergency line is 503-635-0238.

What if I want still use fireworks?

With record-breaking weather and drought conditions, we are urging people to not use fireworks this year. If you still chose to use legal fireworks, please use extreme caution when lighting fireworks – even legal fireworks can be dangerous and unpredictable.

Protect your family and property from fireworks related fires and injuries by practicing the “Four BE’s” as recommended by the Oregon State Fire Marshal’s Office and the Lake Oswego Fire Department.

 BE PREPARED before lighting the fireworks

  • Use only legal fireworks available at licensed fireworks sales locations.
  • Store fireworks out of children’s reach.
  • Always read and follow the fireworks label directions.
  • Place pets indoors; they are easily frightened by fireworks.
  • Always have water available nearby

 BE SAFE when lighting fireworks

  • An adult should always light the fireworks.
  • Keep matches and lighters away from children.
  • Use fireworks only outside and away from combustibles.
  • Light one firework at a time and move away quickly.
  • Do not throw fireworks or hold in your hand.
  • Keep children and pets away from fireworks.

 BE RESPONSIBLE after lighting fireworks

  • Soak used fireworks thoroughly in a bucket of water.
  • Dispose of used fireworks and debris properly.
  • Never re-light a “dud” firework (wait at least 15-20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water).

 BE AWARE of laws governing fireworks

  • Use only legal fireworks.
  • Use fireworks only in legal places.
  • Consumer fireworks are prohibited in City and State Parks.

Lastly, as a reminder, homeowners’ insurance may not cover damages resulting from knowingly using illegal fireworks or improperly using legal fireworks.

Public fireworks displays are the safest way to make fireworks part of your 4th of July celebration.

For more fireworks safety information, visit the Office of the State Fire Marshall at www.oregon.gov/osp/sfm.

Contact Information

Gert Zoutendijk

Fire Marshal

gzoutendijk@lakeoswego.city

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