Help Keep Fireworks off Public Lands

Portland, Ore. – Fire officials remind all those headed out to public lands this Fourth of July weekend to leave fireworks at home and take other precautions to prevent wildfire.

“National forest lands are a great place to celebrate, but please help us protect public lands this Independence Day and everyday,” said Glenn Casamassa, Pacific Northwest Regional Forester. “A spark can ignite a wildfire in just moments, and with this summer’s drought conditions in many areas, we ask everyone to be extra vigilant and follow safety precautions to prevent human-caused wildfires.”

Fireworks are prohibited on national forests at all times, regardless of weather or conditions. Fireworks are also prohibited on other public lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service, Oregon State Parks, and Washington State Parks, as well as most county and city parks. Violators can be subject to a maximum penalty of a $5,000 fine and/or up to six months in jail (36 CFR 261.52).

Anyone who starts a wildfire can be held liable for suppression costs.

Visitors are encouraged to take safety precautions with campfires, such as the following:

  • Observe any restrictions on campfires or other activities that are known to spark wildfires. Check with your destination before you leave the house, and keep an eye out for signs or kiosks on site when you arrive. Restrictions vary depending on local conditions and may be posted with little advance notice.
  • Keep campfires small and select sites away from flammable material, preferably in a designated campfire ring if one is available.
  • Keep water and shovel nearby, and never leave a fire unattended.
  • Completely extinguish your campfire by drowning the fire with water and stirring with a shovel.
  • Confirm the fire is out by touching it with the back of your hand – if it’s too hot to touch, it’s too hot to leave.

Unattended campfires are the most common source of human-caused wildfires on public landscapes. Nationally, nearly nine out of ten wildfires are human-caused through debris burning, equipment sparks, campfires, and other means.

For those staying home to celebrate, remember to play it safe and help prevent fires from escaping your lands. Prepare a bucket of water or keep a garden hose nearby before lighting fireworks. Follow the recommended safe distance labeled on the fireworks package. Never re-light a dud. Wait 15 to 20 minutes, then soak unexploded fireworks in water before disposing.

Visit www.SmokeyBear.com for additional fire prevention information and resources.

Contact: Rachel Pawlitz, 541-308-1744, rachel.pawlitz@usda.gov

Note: Fire prevention images are available on request.

The Forest Service Pacific Northwest Region contains 17 National Forests, a National Scenic Area, a National Grassland, and two National Volcanic Monuments, all within the States of Oregon and Washington. These public lands provide timber for people, forage for cattle and wildlife, habitat for fish, plants, and animals, and some of the best recreation opportunity in the country.

The mission of the Forest Service is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. The agency manages 193 million acres of public land, provides assistance to state and private landowners, and maintains the largest forestry research organization in the world.

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