MEDFORD, Ore. — With Independence Day fast approaching, the City of Medford is underlining new, tougher penalties for setting off illegal fireworks — penalties that are ten times higher than previous years.
Instead of $250, the fine for setting off illegal fireworks has gone up to $2,500. Moreover, the window for setting off approved fireworks has shrunk from 14 days to just six days.
"Oregon legal consumer fireworks can only be used in legal areas from July 1 – July 6 during fire season," Medford Fire-Rescue said. "Police Officers and Fire Officials will be out patrolling, issuing citations and confiscating illegal fireworks and explosives."
The agency listed out a few important details for revelers to stay within the bounds of the law:
- Prohibited Medford Areas: It is illegal within the city limits to discharge any fireworks in the hillside areas, the Bear Creek Greenway, any City park, or any public school.
- Oregon Illegal Fireworks: Any type of aerial firework is illegal for citizens to discharge in the state of Oregon. This would include mortars, bottle or sky rockets, and Roman candles or similar devices that shoot flaming balls. According the State statutes, any device that explodes, flies into the air, behaves in an uncontrolled and unpredictable manner, or travels more than 12 feet horizontally is illegal to use in the State of Oregon.
- Oregon Illegal Explosives: Explosive devices are illegal to use in the State of Oregon, including firecrackers and M-80's.
"Medford Fire-Rescue wants you to have a safe and legal Independence Day," the agency continued. "We urge residents to use wisdom and act lawfully if they choose to celebrate with fireworks this year. Conditions are dry and the use of fireworks in the hillsides or near fields containing dry vegetation could start a wildfire. Misusing fireworks can lead to injury."
Fire officials also cautioned safety for those celebrating Independence Day the legal way. According to the Consumer Products Safety Commission, in 2017 eight people died and an estimated 12,900 people were treated in emergency departments for fireworks-related injuries in the United States. An estimated 8,700 (68 percent of the total fireworks-related injuries) of these injuries required hospitalization.