Fire Alert

Fireworks safety: Caution in town, ban in forest

Fire managers also offer campfire safety reminders

BEND, Ore. - Bend Fire Department and public lands managers issued familiar, timely reminders Friday: Fireworks need to be very carefully used in town, and are prohibited in the woods. Campfires also need special caution to make sure they are "dead out," they added.

Here's a trio of news releases focusing on the issue, first from the Bend Fire Department:

Each year, we celebrate the fourth of July with community parades, picnics, barbeques, and fireworks. But sadly, Independence Day also includes tragic events and injuries resulting from illegal firework use and is both traumatizing and harmful to children and pets.

Completely aside from the danger of legal and of exploding illegal fireworks, there's a huge risk of fire and property damage.

The Bend Fire Department urges you to consider the negative effects of illegal fireworks on our community. Participating in the professional fireworks display at Pilot Butte is a smart way to enjoy the 4th of July in a safe and legal manner.

Steps for Safer Use of Fireworks:

    • Keep water available by using a garden hose or a bucket of water
    • Soak used fireworks in water prior to disposing of them

  • BE SAFE:
  • Only use fireworks outdoors, on a non-combustible surface keeping away from cars, buildings, and combustible vegetation
  • Never alter fireworks or make your own
  • Never pick up or try to re-light a "dud"
  • Store fireworks, lighters and matches out of reach of children
  • Parents are liable for fireworks-caused damage by their children. Costs may include assessed fines as well as the cost of suppressing fireworks-caused fires. 
  • Oregon law forbids possession, use or sale of fireworks that fly, explode or travel more than six feet on the ground or 12 inches in the air. Bottle rockets, Roman candles, and firecrackers are ILLEGAL in Oregon.
  • Officials may seize illegal fireworks and fine offenders endangering life and property.
  • Alcohol use can contribute to an even greater risk of injury or fire when combined with fireworks use, please be responsible.
  • 911 will field all fireworks related complaints through their dispatch center. Citizens can call the non-emergency phone 541 693-6911 to report illegal fireworks use.
  • You must be 18 years of age to buy, sell, possess or use fireworks in Bend.
  • Unused illegal fireworks may be dropped off at any Bend Fire or Police Station without penalty.

For more information on fire safety, please visit the Bend Fire Department website at   


This advisory is from the Central Oregon Fire Management Service

Remember – Fireworks are prohibited on federal lands

CENTRAL OREGON – Fourth of July is just a few days away and many Americans will celebrate by visiting their federal public lands.

Please remember that firefighters and land managers need everyone's help to be "Fire Safe" this holiday and throughout the summer.

Fireworks and other exploding targets are prohibited on federal public lands in Central Oregon, including the Deschutes and Ochoco National Forests, the Prineville BLM, and the Crooked River National Grassland. 

"There's an appropriate time and place for fireworks—but that's not on federal lands during fire season," said Craig Letz, Fire Staff Officer for the Central Oregon Fire Management Service. "Fireworks are restricted on federal lands, and we ask that people respect that.

"We want the public to enjoy a fun and safe holiday and summer, and we will continue to work closely with our partners at the Oregon Department of Forestry, and local and county fire departments, to ensure that when it becomes necessary, we implement precautionary measures to protect our forests and communities."

National Forest System lands in Central Oregon are not under public use restrictions right now, meaning that visitors are allowed to have campfires and operate chainsaws; however, the fire danger rating is currently HIGH.

Campers are reminded to fully extinguish their campfires with water and shovel until the coals are cool to the touch. 


Fires that appear to be out may smolder for several days and pick up again during the next wind event. The smallest spark has the potential to cause significant damage.

Always crush cigarettes dead out, never leave a campfire unattended, ensure that your vehicle has a properly installed spark arrester that is operational, and stop and park only in areas clear of vegetation.

Let's celebrate our nation's Independence Day, but let's leave the fireworks to the areas where they are legal and can be safely used.

Discharging fireworks on federal public lands is punishable by a fine of up to $5,000 and a sentence of up to six months in jail.


And this is from the U.S. Forest Service in Portland:

Smokey Says: No Forest Fireworks

PORTLAND - With the July 4 weekend approaching, the U.S. Forest Service would like to remind visitors to national forests in Oregon and Washington that discharging fireworks or explosives, including exploding targets, is prohibited.

Fireworks routinely cause wildfires. Their possession and use have been prohibited at campgrounds and elsewhere on national forest lands for years.  Last year, the Pacific Northwest Region also banned the use of exploding targets.

Last year, nearly half (2,107) of the 4,389 fires reported in Washington and Oregon were caused by people:  abandoned campfires, cigarettes, left-over charcoal briquettes being chief culprits. These burned 115,842 acres. Lightning fires can't be helped; human fires can.

Exploding targets are a documented cause of wildfires, and have been associated with at least five wildfires on National Forest System lands since 2012, resulting in more than 15,600 acres burned and approximately $30 million in suppression costs.

Exploding targets generally consist of two or more separate chemical components that, when mixed, become an explosive designed to produce a visual and audible display intended for use as a target for firearms practice. These targets typically consist of a fuel and an oxidizer, such as ammonium nitrate and aluminum, which can be purchased legally online and at retail stores. They explode forcefully and with enough force to scatter burning material.

The prohibition of exploding targets on National Forest lands is not intended to deter the sport of target shooting. The prohibition is directed at concerns over the potential for fire ignition associated with the use of exploding targets on public lands. The Forest Service recognizes hunting and safe target shooting as a valid use of National Forest System lands.

Any violation of this prohibition is punishable as a Class B misdemeanor by a fine of not more than $5,000 for individuals and $10,000 for organizations or by imprisonment for not more than six months, or both.

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