PORTLAND – Fireworks are festive, from the ones that fly high to the "safe and sane" fireworks allowed in Oregon. But in the more rural areas of Washington County, fire crews are concerned about any sparks as they see a change in conditions.
“Those finer fuels, grasses, things along the roadside, they’re pretty dry right now so it’s not going to take a whole lot,” said Karen Eubanks of Tualatin Valley Fire and Rescue.
She said that’s why it is so important to protect your property, ahead of time.
TVF&R crews recommend at least 100 feet of defensible space between the natural surroundings and your home. And that especially in the wildland urban interface, more fire safe roof materials are used.
“Cedar shake roofs very attractive, but tinder dry and they catch on fire really easy with embers and fireworks and things like that,” said TVF&R Lt. Gary Burton.
Burton works out of Station 69, in a rural area on Cooper Mountain. Fireworks, when used unsafely, can do a lot of harm.
Last year fireworks cause 161 fires in Oregon, injured 36 people, and did $230,000 in damage. In Washington they caused 128 fires, 228 injuries, and one death. And they did nearly a million dollars in damage.
“They cause people’s homes to catch on fire, fields to catch on fire, and they cause really bad injuries to people sometimes if they’re not used properly,” said Burton. “So the biggest message is be safe, keep it legal, and when you’re done with your fireworks put them in a bucket and make sure they’re out and submerged in water.”