Wednesday, June 18 2014, 10:35 PM CDT
Medford Keeping a Close Eye on Dry Conditions and Fireworks
By Aaron Nilsson/KTVL.comMEDFORD, Ore. -- Fireworks stands are going up and getting ready for July Fourth.
Medford’s fire and police departments are also getting ready to put out any illegal flames.
Medford city officials said they will be on more firework patrol than usual.
“My patience is worn already and I will be out with a camera if I have to to capture people,” Medford city council member, John Michaels, said.
Firework sale tents just started popping up and Michaels said he already hears neighbors using fireworks.
Medford fire marshal, Greg Kleinberg, said all fireworks usage is illegal until between June 23rd and July 6th.
“Any use of fireworks right now are illegal until that two week period. We have very dry conditions right now and if you’re using those and somebody calls 9-1-1, we can issue a citation,” Kleinberg said.
Kleinberg said any fire now may spread rapidly.
He said it's dangerous right now and the fire department will inspect the fireworks sale tents on June 23rd.
Then, on the Fourth of July, Kleinberg said the fire and police departments will go on patrol and issue citations with base citations at 150 dollars.
“We wrote a lot of citations last year and there still was a lot of illegal activity going on. Its something we need to chip away at every year,” Kleinberg said.
The city of Medford lifted its firework ban in the last couple of years and allow certain fireworks.
Residents can use fireworks which do not explode, fly into the air, travel more than six feet horizontally and 12 inches vertically from point of ignition.
Kleinberg said it was impossible to keep an outright ban in the city because residents still shot off fireworks illegally and it was difficult to enforce.
“Sparklers seem not so hazardous, but they burn really hot. Kids don’t understand it’s a really hot item and so you should supervise your kids,” Kleinberg said.
Michaels said the city adopted a "wait and see" experiment if allowing certain fireworks will work.
He said new regulations now has a lot of police enforcement to control illegal activity.
“Last year was our first year. Now everyone’s been educated and this year, we aren’t holding back. People will be fined," Michaels said.
Medford Fire-Rescue said no fireworks are allowed on any hillsides, the Bear Creek Greenway, a city park or in a public school.
Due to the fire danger, no fireworks are allowed in any Josephine County parks this summer, including fireworks displays at Lake Selmac.