The Office of State Fire Marshal, the Oregon Fire Service, natural resource agencies, Oregon licensed fireworks wholesalers, and safety experts all encourage Oregonians to “keep it legal and keep it safe” when using fireworks.
The 2019 Oregon fireworks retail sales season opens June 23 and runs through July 6. The OSFM and their partners want everyone to know which fireworks 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 legal fireworks.
“I want to remind all Oregonians that consumer legal fireworks can only be purchased from Oregon permitted fireworks retailers and stands,” says State Fire Marshal Jim Walker. “And, regulations limit where those fireworks may be used. Fire risk in Oregon is already high, and as the weeks go by that risk will only increase, so there is no room for error in fireworks safety.”
July 4 holiday public land visitors are advised to leave all fireworks at home. The use of fireworks is prohibited on all national forestland, Oregon state parks, and beaches. Residents statewide can still enjoy fireworks at officially sponsored community events.
For residents who purchase legal fireworks, the OSFM encourages everyone to practice 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
Oregon law prohibits the possession, use, or sale of any firework that flies into the air, explodes, or travels more than 12 feet horizontally on the ground, without a permit issued by the OSFM. Fireworks commonly called bottle rockets, Roman candles, and firecrackers are illegal in Oregon, without a permit.
For the last reported five years through 2018, there were 1,264 reported fireworks-related fires in Oregon recorded by the state’s structural fire agencies, resulting in more than $3.5 million in property damage. During that same period, fires resulting from fireworks resulted in one death and 26 injuries. The data from structural fire agencies do not include incidents that occurred on federal and other state lands.
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.
“All Oregonians share the responsibility to use only consumer legal fireworks and use them carefully,” adds Walker. “We encourage you to be aware and considerate of neighbors and their pets before deciding on when and where you choose to light legal fireworks.”
The OSFM has published 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. OSFM’s fireworks education materials for sharing on social media also can be found on its website.
A grill fire inside Rays Food Place in Sisters last night was rapidly extinguished before spreading thanks to quick action by employees on scene, and a rapid response by Sisters-Camp Sherman Fire District. All customers had evacuated the store and employees inside the store used fire extinguishers to stop the fire from spreading while firefighters responded. First arriving units found an indoor gas grill covered with baking sheets with significant heat, but no visible flames. Firefighters used a thermal imaging camera to confirm no heat in the ceiling tiles surrounding the hood of the grill, and damage was confined to the grill itself.
Shift Commander Rob Harrison said “The prompt effort of employees to locate and turn the gas to the grill off, and use a fire extinguisher to put the fire out helped to keep the fire from spreading.” The National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) offers the following safety tips in regards to use of a fire extinguisher:
Use a portable fire extinguisher when the fire is confined to a small area, such as a wastebasket, and is not growing; everyone has exited the building; the fire department has been called or is being called; and the room is not filled with smoke.
To operate a fire extinguisher, remember the word PASS:
Pull the pin. Hold the extinguisher with the nozzle pointing away from you, and release the locking mechanism.
Aim low. Point the extinguisher at the base of the fire.
Squeeze the lever slowly and evenly.
Sweep the nozzle from side-to-side.
For the home, select a multi-purpose extinguisher (can be used on all types of home fires) that is large enough to put out a small fire, but not so heavy as to be difficult to handle.
Choose a fire extinguisher that carries the label of an independent testing laboratory.
Read the instructions that come with the fire extinguisher and become familiar with its parts and operation before a fire breaks out.
Install fire extinguishers close to an exit and keep your back to a clear exit when you use the device so you can make an easy escape if the fire cannot be controlled. If the room fills with smoke, leave immediately.
Know when to go. Fire extinguishers are one element of a fire response plan, but the primary element is safe escape. Every household should have a home fire escape plan and working smoke alarms.
Sisters-Camp Sherman Fire District responded with three emergency vehicles and six personnel. Additional units from Sisters-Camp Sherman, Black Butte Ranch and Cloverdale Fire Districts also responded to the fire but were canceled prior to arrival.
For more information please contact the Sisters-Camp Sherman Fire District at 541-549-0771.
Save the dates for upcoming FireFree Recycling Events!
Last year’s fire season is fresh in many Central Oregon resident’s minds. Fire season is just around the corner and now is the time for Central Oregonians to prepare their home for fire season. It may not feel like it outside but fire season is on its way. There are some simple steps you can take to prepare your home and community for the upcoming fire season. This spring, partners in the Central Oregon area will host FireFree days. Crook, Deschutes, Klamath, and Jefferson Counties will all be hosting FireFree events for local residents to easily prepare for wildfire season. Check the dates below for a FireFree event near you!
Fire science tells us that if you have created and maintained a defensible/survivable space around your home, it has an 80% chance of surviving a wildfire without fire department assistance. Those are great odds and FireFree urges residents to take that bet and get prepared for the upcoming wildfire season. Now is the time to clean up your yards and create defensible spaces around homes and recycle that debris at FireFree collection sites FOR FREE in Crook, Deschutes, Klamath, and Jefferson Counties. Please note currently the Westside Site is pending confirmation from its new landowner, FireFree will announce the confirmed dates as soon as possible. This will be the last year the current Westside Collection Site on Simpson Ave in Bend will be available to residents. Take advantage of the Westside Site during the 2018 FireFree event to make the tenth and final year the best one yet! Saturday & Sunday, April 28 & 29 and May 5 & 6 at Box Canyon Transfer Site in Madras.
Saturday, April 28 at Crook County Landfill in Prineville.
Saturday, May 5 THROUGH Sunday, May 13 at Knott Landfill in Bend.
Early May 2018 at the Westside Collection Site in Bend.
2018 will be the last opportunity to use this site for FireFree, please check back at firefree.org for specific dates
Friday & Saturday, May 18 & 19 at Deschutes County Transfer Sites:
Negus Transfer Station in Redmond
Northwest Transfer Station in Cloverdale (Sisters)
Southwest Transfer Station in La Pine Friday & Saturday, June 1 & 2 at Crescent Transfer Station and Chemult Landfill.
FireFree reminds you to take a look around your property in the “home ignition zone” where glowing embers can ignite spot fires and vulnerable areas like decks, patios and fences that can spread flames to your home. And take advantage of upcoming FireFree Recycling Events to dispose of the debris for FREE.
Where are your most vulnerable places for glowing embers to ignite your home?
Are your gutters and roof valleys free from debris like pine needles and leaves? Clean them out. Despite a metal or asphalt shingle roof, the buildup of gutter debris provides necessary fuel for the glowing embers to ignite adjacent fascia boards or siding – most often made of wood.
Do your shrubs and weeds provide a path of fuel for fire to reach your trees or home? Reduce shrubs and other “ladder fuels” around your home to reduce the threat of ground fires igniting nearby trees, or your home.
What can catch fire on your deck or patio or near your fence? Remove weeds, shrubs or any combustible materials from around, under or on top of your deck, patio or wood fence. This includes toys, planters, construction materials, patio furniture and cushions along with even small piles of pine needles or leaves.
Do you have bark mulch, pine needles, ornamental junipers or flammable vegetation within 5 feet of your home? This can provide the perfect ember bed that will provides necessary fuel for the glowing embers to ignite the adjacent siding – most often made of wood.
Is your woodpile near your home or other combustible vegetation? Move woodpiles at least 30 feet away from your home or other combustibles.
Visit the FireFree website at www.firefree.org for more information about how you can prepare your property for wildfire season.
A Presentation on Wildfire’s Natural Role in Our Local Forests
The recent Milli Fire last summer burned over 24,000 acres and impacted residents and businesses in Sisters Country. While it may not feel like it outside, fire season is on its way again! Nationally recognized ecologist Paul Hessberg will give a presentation on wildfire, its natural role in our local forests and how that role has changed. Local agency partners including the Sisters-Camp Sherman Fire District, USFS Sisters Ranger District, Oregon Department of Forestry, City of Sisters, Sisters Science Club, and Brooks Resources are sponsoring the freepresentation, which will be held on Thursday, March 22 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at the Belfry in Sisters.
Last year was a record fire year with 9.1 million acres burning in the United States. More than 680,000 acres burned in Oregon alone, in at least 33 separate fires, one of which was a megafire that burned over 190,000 acres. Dr. Hessberg will present to the audience an engaging, multimedia presentation about wildfire, its natural role in our local forests and how that role has changed. Dr. Hessberg will present the multiple options available to our community to reshape the wildfire problem and how we can better learn to live with fire.
Paul Hessberg, Ph.D., is a Research Ecologist with the Pacific Northwest Research Station, US Forest Service. He has been studying historical and modern era forests of the Inland West for the last 32 years, publishing extensively in leading national and international journals. His work documents large changes in forest conditions and how these changes, along with climate change, have set the stage for large and severe wildfires. This presentation is an outgrowth of his research and his concerns for the future.
No tickets are needed for the event, which is expected to be attended at full capacity. It is recommended that you arrive early to get a seat. Doors open at 6 p.m.
With the recent mild, almost spring-like winter temperatures, many locals and visitors alike are taking to the water, rather than the ski slopes, to recreate in Central Oregon. Being unguarded in the water, especially when water temperatures are low is extremely dangerous.
According to the National Center for Cold Water Safety, immersion in cold water is immediately life threatening for anyone not wearing thermal protection such as a wet suit or dry suit. If you’re not using thermal protection, cold water making contact with the skin creates cold shock, and causes an immediate loss of breathing control. This becomes a threat to life even if the water is calm and you know how to swim. Cold water immersion can also cause the heart rate and blood pressure to spike, which increases the risk of heart attack and stroke for some. Some cold water deaths happen immediately and others can take hours. Shock can happen within five minutes while breathing problems can persist for longer. If you’re lucky enough to survive the shock phase, you may lose the ability to use your hands and arms within minutes. Hypothermia kicks in after about 30 minutes. Even those lucky enough to be rescued are at risk of heart failure or unconsciousness when being removed from the water due to drops in blood pressure.
Being prepared is your best option of staying safe and enjoying the water in Sisters Country year round. Below are some tips the National Center for Cold Water Safety promotes as their 5 Golden Rules:
Always wear your personal flotation device. It doesn’t do you any good to just have it available – wear it at all times in the water.
Always dress for the water temperature – no exceptions. No one plans to fall in the water, especially during the winter months where water is at its coolest. Dressing appropriately could save your life.
Field-test your gear.
Swim-test your gear every time you go out.
Imagine the worst that can happen and plan for it.
The Sisters-Camp Sherman Fire District formalized a program for auxiliary volunteers in January 2015 by creating a Fire Corps program. Fire Corps program volunteers are utilized to assist Fire Department and other related community service functions in non-emergency roles as needed for the Fire District.
Fire Corps assignments include: Administrative functions (office work, data entry), Life Safety Education such as CPR and First Aid training, Blood Pressure Assessments, green emergency Address Sign Program, public and fire/EMS department assistance and Community Risk (smoke alarms and fire prevention/safety education). Fire Corps members may also receive training in other duties and programs as assigned by the Fire Chief.
The Fire Corps initially started with just a few members and as of December 2017 has 24 members. The 24 members volunteered 2,532 hours in 2017 assisting the Fire Department with important community and fire/life safety events.
Currently, Beverly Halcon is the Fire Corps Chairperson and manages the activities for the members. The group had many accomplishments in 2017 including:
Completed 416 blood pressure readings during monthly BiMart blood pressure clinics. These are held on the third Tuesday of each month from Noon to 4 p.m.
Installed 40 green reflective emergency address signs throughout the District. The signs help crews quickly locate addresses within the Fire District.
Taught 10 CPR/AED and First Aid classes educating 106 community members.
Performed residential smoke alarm testing along with the American Red Cross covering 29 homes and installing over 91 smoke alarms.
Checked a total of 50 child safety seats through three Sisters area clinics and other regional clinics.
Began an AED grant program encouraging businesses in the Sisters area to purchase automated external defibrillators. Nine additional AED’s were added to the community due to this program.
Chief Johnson said, “I am so proud of all of our Fire Corps members. They provide services for our community that we wouldn’t otherwise be able to provide. I am convinced that their efforts have saved lives and will save many more in the years to come.”
If you or someone you know might be interested in the Fire Corps program, please contact the Sisters-Camp Sherman Fire District at 541-549-0771.
Quick action by homeowners and a rapid response from the Sisters-Camp Sherman Fire District kept a wall fire from extending to the entire home. Homeowners Chris and John Zandofsky noticed smoke and flames in the wall near a pellet stove and called 911. The homeowners used a garden hose to slow the progress of the fire while the fire department responded. When firefighters arrived they found flames and sparks in the wall and used a chainsaw to gain access to the concealed fire. Fire Chief Roger Johnson said, “We were fortunate someone was home and noticed the fire early”. Fire damage was limited to 3 foot by 3 foot area where the pellet stove flue passed through the exterior wall of the home.
Sisters-Camp Sherman Fire District responded with 12 firefighters and six emergency vehicles. Additional units from Cloverdale Fire District and Black Butte Ranch Fire District also responded to the fire but were cancelled prior to arrival.
The Sisters-Camp Sherman Fire District will be hosting an open house on Saturday, April 8 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the main fire station located at 301 South Elm Street in Sisters. Attendees will have the opportunity to tour the facility, check out the apparatus, and meet local fire and emergency medical response personnel as well as Fire Corps members. Come see us and get a blood pressure check, learn more about FireMed membership and watch firefighter skills demonstrations including: ladder throws, advancing a charged hose line, donning and doffing personal protective equipment and more. Staff will be on hand to answer questions, hand out literature and even discuss volunteer opportunities.
For more information, contact the administration office at 541-549-0771.
If you attended the community meeting regarding potential flooding in our town on Friday evening, February 10, we mentioned we would post the Whychus Creek flow data. You can find that information here: Whychus Guage