The City of Bend will extend its ban on personal fireworks through August, saying the continued drought conditions make the risk for fires too high.
Mayor Sally Russell told Central Oregon Daily News the city will extend its current state of emergency, which had banned fireworks through July 9th.
She said she expected some of the community will be disappointed, but the potential benefits outweigh the risks.
“I’ve heard from so many different people about how worried they are about fire risk right now,” Russell said. “When we go to bed at night and we see the smoke in the skies, that’s just a sign that we need to be very careful and minimize the risks of starting a fire as much as possible.”
Bend Fire & Rescue applauded the community this week for following the rules and limiting the use of fireworks.
The Fourth of July is typically the agency’s busiest day of the year, but fire officials said it was quiet.
Extending this emergency order provides the city the most flexibility to support unhoused community members and preserve public safety and water resources during these extreme weather conditions.
City Council is expected to ratify the emergency declaration at its July 21 meeting.
The ban might not ever be lifted.
“It is likely that the City Council will engage in a conversation regarding fireworks regulations starting in August,” said City of Bend Chief Operating Officer and Assistant City Manager Jon Skidmore. “But through this summer, we are asking community members to refrain from lighting fireworks due to high heat, drought conditions, water curtailment and the extremely dry fuel conditions.”
Later, Skidmore told Central Oregon Daily News: “Council could be considering ordinance changes, so would have the effect of law that are in Bend’s municipal code. It could be seasonal, it could be year-round, they could decide not to do anything.”
Under the emergency order, use of any fireworks is a class A civil infraction and carries a penalty of a fine up to $750.
Community members are encouraged to report the use of fireworks via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Use of fireworks posing an immediate risk to people or property are considered emergencies and should be reported by calling 911.