With the Independence Day holiday fast approaching, fireworks stands are doing big business in and around the Portland area.

With that in mind, the Tualatin Valley Fire and Rescue is reminding the public to “Keep it Legal, Keep it Safe” this Fourth of July holiday.

“In the past five years, TVF&R has had 86 fireworks-related fires causing nearly $2 million dollars in damage,” says Fire Marshal Steve Forster. “This is significant when you realize that fireworks are only on sale for less than two weeks a year.”

According to the Oregon State Fire Marshal, there were 197 fireworks-caused fires, and 31 reported fireworks-caused injuries statewide last year. Most of the injuries were from using illegal mortars and legal sparklers. Fireworks can also be traumatic to veterans and pets.

Oregon law bans fireworks that fly, explode, or move across the ground more than six feet or up in the air more than 12 inches. This includes popular items such as bottle rockets, roman candles, firecrackers and M80s.

Fireworks purchased by mail order, or in the state of Washington or on Native American reservations, may be illegal in Oregon. To keep it legal, purchase all fireworks at a licensed Oregon firework stand or retail outlet.

Under Oregon law, law enforcement officers can seize illegal fireworks and you can be fined up to $500 per violation. You can also be held civilly liable for damages resulting from improper use of any fireworks — legal or illegal.

In an effort to help curb illegal activity, TVF&R firefighters will conduct neighborhood drive-thrus on Friday reminding individuals to use fireworks safely and convey the penalties associated with illegal fireworks.

In addition, TVF&R Deputy Fire Marshals will be present at public displays and will be riding with local law officers to assist with their enforcement efforts.

Individuals needing to report a fire or medical emergency should call 9-1-1; individuals wishing to report a nuisance or concern about illegal fireworks should do so via their non-emergency 9-1-1 number.

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