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Always Ready, Always There

Phone: 503-823-3700

Fax: 503-823-3710

55 SW Ash Street, Portland, OR 97204

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Burn Ban Status: September 17, 2015

Burn ban lifted


Burn Ban Lifted for Multnomah County

Due to the return of rain and cooler weather, the burn ban in effect for Multnomah County since July 1st has been lifted. Outdoor recreational fires, campfires and fires in outdoor fireplaces or chiminea type devices are again allowed throughout Multnomah County, including City of Portland, Gresham, Corbett, and Sauvie Island.

Backyard and agricultural burning is never allowed in the city of Portland, however jurisdictions having authority outside city limits, including Gresham, Corbett, and Sauvies Island, have lifted their respective bans and are allowing this burning today.  Remember to always check with your local fire departments before any backyard or agricultural burning as this may change due to weather or air quality issues.  

PF&R Busy Over July 4th Weekend with Fire Response and Illegal Fireworks Enforcement

Illegal fireworks inspire dialogue and action

PF&R was especially busy over July 4th weekend with fire response and illegal fireworks enforcement. The new (503) 823-BOOM number took more callers than the earlier non-emergency line alone and improved the Bureau of Emergency Communication's ability to handle emergency 9-1-1 calls.

Portland Fire & Rescue responded to 118 fires over the 4th of July weekend, (ten of which were structure fires) and wrote 84 citations for illegal fireworks use. Most of the fires over the weekend occurred in bark dust, grass and/or bushes. The cause of these fires varied, but the number one source was smokers' carelessness with 59 fires caused by improperly disposed of smoking materials while fireworks caused 33 fires.

Portland Fire & Rescue continued their 4th campaign of Lower the Boom with education using multiple media outlets and enforcement that included citations up to $1000 along with confiscation of illegal fireworks.

"Illegal fireworks are an enormous problem for not only fires and injuries, but they traumatize our veterans with PTSD, cause anxiety for animals, and add pollution, measured in noise, air, and litter," said Portland Fire Chief Erin Janssens. "Portland Fire & Rescue has been taking the lead on restoring safety and peace to our community. I knew from the beginning that this would take time, but I believe together we're making progress."

Chief Janssens added: "What I've heard from most people is that while illegal fireworks are clearly still a problem, we're seeing a reduction, which is a good thing. We need to continue our efforts to educate, expand our ability to take calls in a timely manner, and increase enforcement for people who are choosing to disregard the law and their neighbors."

This year, PF&R staffed a dedicated hotline (503-823-BOOM) with firefighters taking reports of illegal fireworks during peak hours. This additional staffing allowed 9-1-1 dispatchers to focus on calls for actual fires, police, and medical emergencies. The 503-823-BOOM line fielded over 1,000 calls. Dedicated dispatchers were then able to relay to police and nine patrol teams of fire inspectors paired with police officers to respond.

"Having the overflow on 823-BOOM was a life-saver. BOEC staff were able to process the true emergencies throughout the night," said Lisa Turley, Director of the Bureau of Emergency Communications for the City of Portland. "When so many calls come in per hour - and it will be interesting to see those statistics - it doesn't matter how many staff you have on duty, they cannot keep up with demand. Having our people free to concentrate on the calls that only they can handle ensured that emergencies were managed effectively all night long."

The popularity of the new hotline shows how much communities want action when it comes to illegal fireworks in their neighborhoods and the successes of Lower the Boom is helping bit-by-bit to chip away at this problem. Division Chief Merrill Gonterman estimated that up to 20% of the calls to (503) 823-BOOM were from people outside of Portland looking for a way to report fireworks in their area, ranging from as far north as Battleground, to Salem, Washington County, and Gresham.

Outside of the numbers, one of the most significant impacts of the campaign is the dialogue it has opened up about the effects of illegal fireworks in our community. People and groups feel more comfortable sharing their concerns and sometimes outrage, not only about people disregarding the law, but people disrespecting their neighbors. Illegal fireworks are not something someone does quietly in the privacy of their own home. It is not a victimless crime.
Some statistics from the July 4th weekend:

July 3rd: 27 Fires (19 caused by discarded smoking material and 3 caused by fireworks)
July 4th: 50 fires (20 caused by discarded smoking material and 17 caused by fireworks)
July 5th: 41 fires (20 caused by discarded smoking material and 13 caused by fireworks)

Illegal Fireworks
84 citations
Total citation amount: $57,000.00
Total amount of confiscated illegal fireworks: $14,000.00

Portland Fire & Rescue wants to remind everyone to please take special care; we are at the beginning of our summer here in the Portland Metro region and expect the moisture content of fuel loads to become increasingly dry. We want to continue to caution everyone to always dispose of smoking materials properly and that any fireworks that fly into the air or move more than 6' horizontally are illegal in Oregon.

Please visit our website for more safety tips:

New number to call for illegal fireworks, burn ban in effect

This morning, Portland Fire Chief Erin Janssens announced a new number to call and report illegal fireworks and offered information on a burn ban in immediate effect.

This morning, Portland Fire Chief Erin Janssens announced a new number to call in order to report illegal fireworks and offered information on a burn ban in immediate effect.

Oregon law bans possession, use, or sale of any fireworks that fly, explode, travel more than one foot into the air or more than six feet on the ground. These fireworks are illegal. Fireworks not purchased from an approved vendor in Oregon are most likely illegal.

During peak fireworks periods, a new number 503-823-BOOM (2666) will be staffed by PF&R firefighters working with emergency dispatchers. If it is an emergency, such as a fire or emergency medical problem, as always, call 9-1-1. But to report illegal fireworks (without fire/injury), call 503-823-BOOM.

Having this specialized number helps on two fronts: by increasing the number of people who can take calls and help dispatch our teams of enforcement officers, we can better respond to this issue. Additionally, call takers at dispatch can focus more of their time dealing with emergency 9-1-1 calls.

Today, until further notice, based on the continuation of high temperatures and dry weather, we're placing a burn ban in effect for Multnomah County, including Portland. This will include no open fires, including any ceremonial and recreational fires. In Multnomah County, within the boundaries of Portland, Gresham, Corbett and Sauvie Island, follow these provisions:

  •   No fires, including recreational.
  •   BBQs in approved devices professionally designed and built for such use will be allowed, but not in any natural areas.
  •   Legal fireworks will be allowed, providing people exercise caution and follow safety protocols, such as:
  •   Use only in open areas over non-combustible surfaces, such as concrete or asphalt.
  •   Have water on hand to extinguish fire or to cool burns.
  •   Make a clean, metal bucket available to place expended fireworks.
  •   Never attempt to re-light a dud.

Note: If conditions were to change, ie, if we start to experience strong winds, this policy could evolve.

Illegal fireworks -- those that fly in the air, cause loud explosions and disseminate sparks or mortars over distances are banned -- and are always banned.

PF&R, working with our partners at the Portland Police Bureau, will be responding to calls of illegal fireworks, issuing citations and confiscating illegal fireworks. But we need your help: use the 503- 823-BOOM number to report.

This Fourth of July, we continue our fourth successful regional campaign to educate area residents about the problems illegal fireworks cause. We're also continuing our efforts with Portland Police to enforce the law by confiscating illegal fireworks and issuing citations to offenders.

The cost of citations for using or possessing illegal fireworks is significant: violators face steep fines can be held liable for any damages they've caused.

Over the past three years, we've issued 403 citations. Over the past two years, PF&R issued 282 citations totaling nearly $150,000 and confiscated over $100,000 worth of illegal fireworks, therefore keeping those fireworks out of our neighborhoods.

Another way the campaign is working is the number of fireworks caused fires is decreasing.

o We are in the fourth year of our campaign against illegal fireworks.
o The three years after Operation Lower the Boom was in effect saw a 30% decrease in the number of fires caused by fireworks during the period of June 23 – July 6, when compared to the three years prior to the campaign.
oThe three years after Operation Lower the Boom was in effect saw a 40% decrease in the number of fires caused by fireworks during July 4th, when compared to the three years prior to the campaign.

Portland Fire Chief Erin Janssens notes: "Fortunately as more people are becoming aware of the physical, emotional, environmental, and economic costs, it's becoming increasingly clear that illegal fireworks in the hands of amateurs are no longer a 'patriotic' act. I suggest to show our patriotism, fly U.S. flags, not fireworks."

Annual Memorial Gathering for Fallen Portland Firefighters Features Additional Event at Lone Fir Cemetery

Marker for first black firefighter to be dedicated

On June 26 at 10 am every year, Portland firefighters gather at the Portland Firefighters Park on West Burnside Street to honor those who have died in the line of duty. The honor guard performs and the commemorative bell is rung 36 times for each life lost. The Campbell Memorial service was established in 1913 to carry forward the memory of Portland's heroic Fire Chief David Campbell. Chief Campbell died in a 1911 building collapse after ordering all firefighters from the burning structure.

On June 26 this year, there will an additional event to highlight the history and sacrifice of firefighters: a memorial at Lone Fir Cemetery at 11:30 am that same day will dedicate commemorative gravemarkers to honor 12 of the 36 Portland firefighters who have died in the line of duty. Lone Fir has a special firefighter's section (block 5 located between SE Morrison and Stark Streets, and between SE 20th and 26th Avenues). This event will also dedicate nine additional gravemarkers placed on firefighter graves with lost or missing markers. Of note is the inclusion for the first time of Gus Waterford, whose grave was discovered by a class of Madison High School students. Waterford, who was born in 1860 and died in 1909, is Portland's first black firefighter. The public is invited to Lone Fir for this special dedication ceremony.

The Firefighter's Section (Block 5) of Lone Fir Cemetery was deeded to Portland Firefighters on November 16, 1862 by property owner Colburn Barrell. Today, Metro oversees this cemetery.

Walking in is preferred to minimize traffic in the cemetery but for those with mobility issues, driving in is an option. Signs will provide direction for those not familiar with the Firefighter's Section. Parking in the Cemetery must remain on the pavement. Parking to the side of the roads typically leaves room for other cars to pass.

PF&R requests your feedback for our strategic planning process

Portland Fire & Rescue (PF&R) has kicked off its next five-year strategic planning process and we can use your help.

Portland Fire & Rescue (PF&R) has kicked off its next five-year strategic planning process and we can use your help.

Part of our process includes an online survey to gather input from community members. Results of the survey will help guide our planning process.

Your participation in the anonymous online survey is key to making sure your fire bureau has all the information it needs to make sure we are addressing the desires of folks in our service areas. The survey takes approximately 10 minutes and your contribution is much appreciated.

Additionally, PF&R will be sponsoring three community meetings around town to gather input from the public at large. These meetings will be a drop-in format with some remarks early in the evening. The community meetings will be held:

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

- Drop-in hours 5 pm to 7 pm

- Remarks and Q+A with the Fire Chief at approximately 5:30 pm

PF&R Training Center & Fire Station #2

4800 NE 122nd Ave.

Portland, OR 97220

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

- Drop-in hours 5 pm to 7 pm

- Remarks and Q+A with the Fire Chief at approximately 5:30 pm

Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization (IRCO), Gymnasium

10301 NE Glisan St.

Portland, OR 97220

Thursday, July 9, 2015

- Drop-in hours 4:30 pm to 6:30 pm

- Remarks and Q+A with the Fire Chief at approximately 5:00 pm

PF&R Fire Station #1, Skidmore Conference Room (First floor)

55 SW Ash St.

Portland, OR 97204

 Your input will be extremely valuable as we begin developing this plan for Portland Fire & Rescue’s future. Thank you in advance for your time and contribution to our 2015-2020 Strategic Plan.