A Portland Ban on Fireworks

News Article
Picture shows Commissioner Hardesty wearing a Portland Fire & Rescue jacket and hat standing near Fire & Rescue employees, including Chief Sarah Boone.

Last week, the Portland City Council unanimously passed a ban on the personal use and sale of fireworks. The driving factor for developing and passing this policy was the safety of Portlanders.

In recent years, the West Coast in particular has witnessed increasingly frequent and severe wild fires. Here in Oregon we remember the devastating firework caused burn that started on the Eagle Creek trail in 2017.

Then last summer we witnessed climate catastrophe, as extreme heat and draught brought devastating wildfires to Portland and throughout Oregon. In response, we issued a temporary ban on the personal use and sale of fireworks and the results spoke for themselves: In 2021 we reduced firework caused fires by 66% during the fire season and 83% on the Fourth of July compared to 2020 when no ban was in place.

Graphic reads "Why Ban Fireworks?" 2020 (Pre-Firework Ban). Fireworks season (June 23 through July 6): 44 fires caused by fireworks. Fourth of July: 18 fires caused by fireworks. 2021 (Temporary Firework Ban). Fireworks Season (June 23 through July 6): 15 fires caused by fireworks. Fourth of July: 3 fires caused by fireworks. The 2021 temporary fireworks ban reduced fireworks caused fires by 66% during the fire season & 83% on Fourth of July compared to 2020.

While I was fortunate enough to avoid combat when I served in the Navy, I know that many veterans and others that experience Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) have long spoken out about the harmful effects loud explosions from fireworks cause. And if you or someone you know owns a pet, you certainty are aware of how upsetting fireworks are to our furry companions.

At the end of the day, this ban is for the safety of our community as we adapt to the unfortunate realities of climate change. I also want to be clear that this ban does not prohibit professional, licensed firework displays like what we are accustomed to watching on the waterfront each Fourth of July.

I appreciate the support from my colleagues and the leadership from Portland Fire & Rescue Chief Sarah Boone to make this happen. I take the danger caused by fireworks to our community as well as our brave firefighters very seriously. We must adapt during a climate emergency.

Picture of Commissoiner Hardesty smiling in her City hall office. Next to her is a Portland Fire & Rescue radio and a hard hat labeled "Hardesty."