Deschutes County Commissioners on Wednesday voted to ban fireworks in all unincorporated areas, effectively making them illegal this year throughout the county.
Prior to the commissioners’ decision, Bend and Redmond announced city-wide bans and Sisters has banned all fireworks for nearly 75 years.
La Pine hasn’t announced a ban, but the city falls within the Oregon Department of Forestry’s fire protection district, which announced a ban last week.
The ODF doesn’t enforce the ban within the city, but if fireworks – legal or not – spark a fire, the person responsible would be on the hook for 100% of the costs to put it out – including the use of air tankers, if necessary.
Redmond’s ban is in effect for 60 days; Bend and Deschutes County’s ban runs until July 9th.
Seven people testified in favor of the ban at the meeting, but Commissioner Tony Debone said they had received more than 150 emails supporting the ban as well.
Professional fireworks displays are still scheduled at Vince Genna Stadium on July 3; and at Pilot Butte State Park, Deschutes County Fair & Expo Center, and La Pine Frontier Days on July 4.
“This was a hard decision that we don’t take lightly,” Mayor George Endicott said Wednesday in a statement. “However, the sustained heat, drought, and yesterday’s wildfire dictated the need for this unprecedented action.”
Redmond Fire & Rescue Chief Ken Kehmna referenced two brushfires that spread quickly on Tuesday, saying if the city hadn’t had the available resources they could have been devastating.
“Asking the community to forego personal fireworks may seem like a lot after such a tough year, but the fire danger this year is the worst we have seen in decades,” he said.
Under the emergency declaration in Redmond, use of any fireworks is a Class A civil infraction and carries a penalty of a fine up to $500 for each infraction.
Community members are encouraged to report the use of fireworks by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 541-322-6380.
Please include the location or address.
Deschutes County 911 requests that residents do not call 911 to report use of fireworks.
It is very important that the 911 system be kept for reporting only active fires, serious medical problems and imminent threats to person or property.