Oregon State Fire Marshal
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News Releases
Illegal Fireworks
Illegal Fireworks
State Fire Marshal Asks Oregonians to Keep Fireworks Legal and Safe (Photo) - 05/29/20

The Office of State Fire Marshal, Oregon fire service, natural resource agencies, Oregon licensed fireworks wholesalers, and health and safety experts want to encourage Oregonians to “keep it legal and keep it safe” when using legal fireworks.

The 2020 Oregon fireworks retail sales season opens June 23 and runs through July 6.

“Oregonians can help each other and especially our first responders by keeping all fireworks use safe and legal, especially now with greater risks of wildfire this fire season and the stresses that COVID-19 it putting on our systems,” said Mark Johnston, assistant chief deputy fire marshal. “Our office’s fireworks safety and education materials reinforce these important messages to help prevent unwanted fires, wildfires, and calls to responders or visits to our medical facilities.”

The OSFM is providing downloadable items that help Oregonians understand the fireworks that are legal to use in Oregon without a permit, where they are permitted to be used, and the important safety steps to take when using fireworks. The OSFM is asking Oregonians to share this information with their friends, families, and neighbors.

OSFM’s fireworks materials can be found on its website.

The OSFM encourages everyone to use the four Bs of safe fireworks use:

  • Be prepared before lighting fireworks: keep water available by using a garden hose or bucket.
  • Be safe when lighting fireworks: keep children and pets away from fireworks.
  • Be responsible after lighting fireworks: never relight a dud. Wait 15 to 20 minutes, then soak it in a bucket of water before disposal.
  • Be aware: use only legal fireworks and use them only in legal places.

The OSFM website also provides FAQs for commonly answered questions about the sale and legal use of consumer fireworks, permits for the retail sale of fireworks, and state rules for their use and enforcement activities.

In Oregon, officials may seize illegal fireworks and charge offenders with a class B misdemeanor, which could result in a fine of up to $2,500 per violation and a civil penalty of up to $500. Those who misuse fireworks or allow fireworks to cause damage are liable and may be required to pay fire suppression costs or other damage. Parents are also liable for fireworks damage caused by their children. 

Despite their regulated sale and use, fireworks in Oregon continue to cause public safety and health threats every year. In 2020, the Oregon fire service faces additional burdens of protecting their personnel from exposure to COVID-19 and serving the public with the disease in circulation.

For the last reported five years through 2019, there were 1,173 reported fireworks-related fires in Oregon, resulting in more than $4.9 million in property loss and contents damage. During that same period, fires resulting from fireworks resulted one death and 37 injuries. 

For more information on fireworks in Oregon, visit the OSFM website.

Attached Media Files: Illegal Fireworks , Legal Fireworks
Office of State Fire Marshal Ends Rules Change Allowing Self-Serve Gas in Some Counties - 05/21/20

The Office of the State Fire Marshal’s temporary rules change allowing Oregon gas retailers to provide self-service on a voluntary basis ends at midnight, May 23.

Starting May 24, attendants will again be providing service at gas stations in Oregon where self-service is not allowed. Self-service is allowed in some coastal counties and in eastern and central Oregon.

Initially, a temporary rules change was implemented to address worker shortages at stations statewide because of COVID-19.

“We want to thank Oregonians and the many Oregon businesses who provide gasoline for their patience as we allowed for voluntary self-service at Oregon gas stations where that service had not been available before,” said State Fire Marshal Jim Walker. “Starting Sunday, self-serve gas will no longer be allowed in counties where it is already prohibited by state law. Areas of the state where self-serve was allowed, in some coastal counties and areas of central and eastern Oregon, will see no change.”

Information about the ending of temporary self-serve gas in certain parts of the state can be found on the OSFM website.

Wildfire Awareness Month Focusses on Making Homes Safe from Wildfire - 05/04/20

May is Wildfire Awareness Month in Oregon, and federal, state and firefighting agencies are encouraging Oregonians to make sure their homes and property are protected from wildfire.

The Oregon Department of Forestry, Oregon Office of State Fire Marshal and Keep Oregon Green, in collaboration with Oregon forest protective associations, the Office of Emergency Management and federal wildland agencies, are taking this opportunity to promote defensible space around homes before fire strikes this summer. With many Oregonians spending more time at home because of statewide efforts to control the spread of COVID-19, residents can use the coming weeks to reduce risks and make their homes and communities safer.

“The roof is one of the most critical parts of the house when it comes to wildfire protection,” says Oregon State Fire Marshal Jim Walker. “Embers can collect and ignite on the roof, in gutters and enter unscreened openings around the house. Non-combustible roofing material is preferred. Regardless of the construction, please keep your roofs, gutters and eaves clear of all leaves, pine needles and other flammable debris.”

To reduce the risk, fire officials suggest removing dead vegetation a minimum of 30 feet around homes and other structures. In most cases, trees and healthy plants do not need to be removed. However, trees should be pruned and grass kept short and green to keep fire on the ground and more manageable by fire crews. Maintain a five-foot fire-free area closest to the home using nonflammable landscaping material and fire resistant plants.

“Defensible space is a property’s first line of defense against wildfire,” says Oregon Department of Forestry Fire Prevention Coordinator Tom Fields. “Creating and maintaining defensible space around homes can improve your property’s likelihood of surviving a wildfire. Having defensible space also makes it safer for firefighters who may have to defend someone’s home.”

Homeowners should also consider access issues for large fire trucks. Long driveways should be at least 12 feet wide, have 10 feet of vegetation clearance from the centerline out, and about 14 feet overhead. Large vehicle turnaround areas are critical for your safety as well as firefighter safety.

Should a fire occur near a community, Oregon Office of Emergency Management Director Andrew Phelps encourages residents to be prepared if an evacuation is necessary. “Wildfires can come without warning and move quickly, so residents need to prepare now in case they have to leave their home,” Phelps said. “Make sure to put together a ‘Go Kit,’ register for emergency notification systems in your community and make a plan where your family will go and how you will stay in contact if evacuated.”

It is the homeowner’s responsibility to protect their homes by building defensible space. For more information, visit the websites for the Office of State Fire Marshal, the Office of Emergency Management, Keep Oregon Green and the Oregon Department of Forestry, or call your nearest ODF or forest protective association office.

Additional information on preparing for wildfires can be found on the Ready.gov website.

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Contact Oregon Department of Forestry:
Tom Fields, 503-945-7440, office or 503-983-8897, cell

Contact Office of State Fire Marshal:
Rudy Owens, 503-934-8217, office or 971-332-0052, cell 

Contact Office of Emergency Management:
Paula Fasano Negele, 503-378-2127, office or 503-871-8689, cell