Firefighters Urge Caution with Fireworks

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MEDFORD, Ore. – Families around the Rogue Valley are stocking up for the festivities. But with hundred degree temperatures around the corner, officials are urging caution.

Crowds continue to shop for legal fireworks at many of the stores around the valley.  Mariah Michaels is one of them.

She says she lights off fireworks with her family every year. This year, her one-and-a-half year old brother Alex will get to see one for the first time.

She says a Fourth of July without that would be incomplete.

“They’re really pretty and fun, but it’s also a reminder of how lucky we are,” said Michaels.

But fire officials say as fun as fireworks are, they can be equally dangerous when handled improperly.

“We’ve had Fourth of July’s where we haven’t had much response and I’ve also had years where we’ve had three house fires.”

This year, both fire and police say they’re taking on a zero tolerance policy when it comes to irresponsible or illegal behavior.

Hundred-plus degree temperatures mean even the most harmless firework can start a big fire. And that says nothing about the illegal kinds.

“We’ve had things as small as these set roofs on fire and certainly bushes,” said Medford Battalion Chief Brian Fish. “We’ve had a few house fires over the years that were just caused by little bottle rockets.”

Fish says if you’re going to light the fuse, have an area cleared off and a bucket of water available. And if something goes wrong, call before it’s too late.

They’ll have extra people on duty just for that.

“If we can spend a few bucks on overtime and save thousands of dollars in destruction of property it’s well worth the investment,” said Fish.

As for Mariah and her family, they say they can’t wait to enjoy their big bag of fireworks.

But little Alex will have to watch from a distance.

“He’s probably going to want to play with them,” said Michaels. “But no.”