Editorial: County should approve fireworks restrictions

Published Jun 21, 2014 at 12:01AM

Deschutes County Commissioners are considering a ban on shooting fireworks in the county’s unincorporated areas. It’s a step the county should take to reduce fire danger.

The specifics have not been worked out, but the county doesn’t have any limits on fireworks now other that what exists under state law. The ban discussed would apply only to areas outside of city boundaries.

It’s already illegal to shoot fireworks off in the national forest. Some towns in Deschutes County have their own restrictions.

For instance, in Bend people have to be 18 to buy, sell, possess or use fireworks.

A state law also makes certain fireworks illegal in Oregon. That includes those that fly, explode, launch balls of fire or move more that 6 feet across the ground or into the air more than 12 inches. Those aerial “sky lanterns” are also illegal.

It’s not hard to find someone violating the law near the Fourth of July or New Year’s. There is not enough law enforcement to chase after everyone setting off illegal fireworks. A county ban won’t be possible to fully enforce.

But commissioners are thinking about this because of where we live. A new county restriction sends a message that many will abide by. It should not take the Two Bulls Fire to remind us all about the danger.

The fireworks display on Pilot Butte every year, which is sponsored in part by The Bulletin, is usually spectacular. It’s done by professionals. Fire personnel are on alert. That’s the way fireworks should be handled in such a fire-prone region.