Agencies urging caution with fireworks as dry weather continues - KPTV - FOX 12

Agencies urging caution with fireworks as dry weather continues

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CLARK COUNTY, WA (KPTV) -

While most are excited for the Fourth of July, fire experts are holding their breath, worried that extremely dry conditions and fireworks will be a dangerous combination.

Officials say this is no joke. The fire danger is so high currently that Sandy, Oregon, has already banned the use of fireworks for the holiday all together.

Chief Phil Schneider said he made a bold but necessary decision to ban fireworks in all 77 square miles of the Sandy Fire District through the holiday and beyond.

For days now, Vancouver resident Bill Fredrick has been hearing fireworks around town.

"We've been hearing a lot of aerial fireworks,” he said. “A little bit of everything."

This morning, Vancouver fire officials said it was a firework that started his neighbor's car on fire behind his fence.

Neighbors used garden hoses to help put it out, but with dry grass and trees everywhere, Fredrick knows it could've been worse.

"We just came back from California and along I-5, there's no green at all,” he said.

Agencies across the area are working to prevent fires. Vancouver schools aren't allowing people to light fireworks on schools grounds, and Multnomah County Fire officials banned fireworks during last weekend's heat wave, but have since lifted it.

Clark County Assistant Fire Marshal Rich Martin said these are the conditions they expect to see at the end of July to mid-August.

For now, Clark County officials just ask people to make smart choices.

"We'd much prefer that people use the fountains and things that didn't go up in the air a hundred feet," Martin said. “Stay on the ground, stay low so you can control them and see what's happening."

The Fredrick family is planning a low key celebration at home, but thinks the best show is right here in Vancouver.

“Go to the Fort and that's where you'll have the best fireworks," bill said.

As always, any fireworks that shoot up into the air are illegal in Oregon and there's a ban on debris burning across the region.

The Portland Fire Bureau is also holding a news conference Wednesday where more restrictions could be announced.

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