Kirsten Fauser, 17, senior, Ryan Miller, 15, sophomore, are all stacked up at the McNary Band Boosters Fireworks stand at the corner of River Road and Chemawa Road. (KEIZERTIMES/Jason Cox)

By JASON COX
Of the Keizertimes

Celebrating the independence of the world’s wealthiest nation by blowing stuff up is a well-established tradition in the United States – and Oregon, too.

But it’s also a prime time for fireworks-related fires, which is why state and local fire officials are urging residents to be safe and be aware of what’s legal (and what’s not) in Oregon.

If it flies, it’s probably not sold or allowed in Oregon. State law bans possession, use or sales of fireworks that fly, explode or travel more than six feet on the ground or 12 inches in the air. Legal fireworks can only be purchased at state-permitted fireworks retailers and stands. The state fire marshal advises Oregon residents to be wary of purchasing fireworks online. Bottle rockets, M80s, roman candles and firecrackers may not be purchased, possessed or used in the state. Fireworks that can act uncontrollably are also illicit. Illegal fireworks can bring a fine of $500.

But even legal fireworks can land a person in legal hot water. Anyone shooting off fireworks can be held fiscally liable for any damage that occurs to property and can also be charged for firefighters’ time extinguishing any blazes resulting from fireworks.

A driveway or other hard, concrete or asphalt surface is ideal for setting off fireworks. It’s smart to water the lawn and landscaping before starting.

Officials recommend these tips:

• 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 in a bucket of water before disposal.

• Always have an adult present when children are using fireworks.

• Read and follow label directions carefully.

• Only use fireworks outdoors and away from buildings, shrubbery and dry grass.

• Light one at a time and move away quickly.

• Never point or throw fireworks at people, pets, cars or buildings.

• Keep fireworks away from small children.

• Do not alter fireworks or attempt to make your own.