As the 4th of July holiday weekend approaches, Portland Fire & Rescue reminds you that 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.
New this year is an online form where Portlanders can file reports of illegal fireworks activity in the City of Portland: http://www.portlandoregon.gov/fire/reportfireworks.
Additionally, during peak fireworks periods the phone number 503-823-BOOM (2666) will be activated and staffed by a limited number of PF&R firefighters working with emergency dispatchers. If you need to report an emergency such as an active fire or emergency medical problem, as always, call 9-1-1.
While the 503-823-BOOM line will never be able to respond to all the many thousands of calls that occur during peak hours over the July 4th holiday, having this specialized number helps by increasing the number of people who can receive calls and then dispatch enforcement officers. The fire and police teams that are dispatched during peak hours may issue citations and fines, as well as confiscate illegal fireworks. Most importantly, the 503-823-BOOM line diverts non-emergency calls away from 9-1-1 so that true emergencies can get through and be dispatched.
We hope that the addition of our online form will also provide a way to track illegal fireworks use. While filing a report will not automatically send out an enforcement team, it will allow us to see areas where we need to focus enforcement. This data will also be reviewed to identify areas in the city that have a high volume of illegal fireworks use so that we may increase education and enforcement efforts in the future.
The cost of citations for using or possessing illegal fireworks is significant: violators face steep fines starting at $500. Over the past five years, PF&R has issued 553 citations. In 2015, there were 19 fireworks-caused fires on July 4th alone, and 49 during the fireworks season of June 23 -- July 6th.
Please enjoy the weekend. PF&R asks that you be safe, legal, and considerate of your neighbors this July 4th holiday.