Daily US Times: Some cities in the American west are banned fireworks ahead of the 4th July weekend amid fears that pyrotechnics could spark catastrophic wildfires during a historic heatwave.
Authorities warn that the combination of extreme drought conditions, record-high temperatures and at-home fireworks creates a tinderbox-like situation that could quickly turn devastating.
In Portland, Oregon – which shattered records on Monday when it hit a high of 47C (116F) – the fire department issued a prohibition on all fireworks because of the high temperatures and dry conditions. Bend and Tualatin, Oregon, have also banned the use of fireworks through nineth of July, according to the city’s ABC affiliate, KATU. However, Bend still has two public fireworks events scheduled for the holiday.
In a statement, Portland fire chief, Sara Boone, said: “If we don’t take this proactive step now, I fear the consequences could be devastating. It is not easy to make a decision like this so close to our national holiday, but as fire chief I feel I have a higher responsibility to sometimes make unpopular decisions during unprecedented times to protect life, property and the environment.”
Several areas in south-west Washington state have issued bans as well. Officials in Clark county have banned the use and sell of fireworks in parts of the county from 29 June until midnight on 4 July because of significant fire risks.
Eileen Quiring O’Brien, the county council chair, said: “We recognize that this decision will cause some hardship to some residents’ celebration plans as well as businesses and non-profit organizations that sell fireworks.”
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