Four to watch (carefully) on the 4th
With fireworks stands up and open, people around Southern Oregon are gearing up for the Fourth.
Jackson County Fire District No. 3 spokeswoman Ashley Blakely notes that, even with legal fireworks, people need to be smart. Firefighters are often particularly busy on July 4 and Blakely said there are several specific types of fireworks that commonly play a factor in the Independence Day calls for help.
Some may find it surprising, but most fireworks she brought to our attention aren't particularly big. That's because people often take the small, inexpensive fireworks and modify them — which Blakely says is not only a bad idea, but also against the law.
"Modified fireworks are not legal," she said.
State law prohibits bottle rockets, firecrackers, Roman candles and any fireworks that fly, explode or travel more than 6 feet on the ground or 12 inches in the air.
Blakely advised fireworks users to follow the directions on the package, to set the fireworks on an open area away from vegetation that could ignite, to keep a bucket of water nearby and to submerge used fireworks in water for 15 minutes before disposing of them.
Here are some of the fireworks to watch out for:
1. Ground Blooms
Users of Ground Blooms should light them on the ground, then stand back 15 to 20 feet to avoid injury.
"Oftentimes we'll see people light them in their hands then throw them up into the air," Blakely said, adding that it's unpredictable when it'll ignite and where it'll move.
"They can bounce on the ground and then bounce out of the perimeter in which they would have stayed if they were actually lit on the ground," Blakely said.
2. Whistling Petes
Whistling Petes, also called "Piccolo Petes," are among the most commonly modified firework that Fire District 3 sees, according to Blakely.
Agencies often see them wrapped together, which causes a big bang, but also makes them unpredictable.
"Modified fireworks are not legal fireworks," Blakely said.
3. Killer BeesKiller Bees are similar in design to Whistling Petes, though they shoot out crackling "bees" that jump out through the top.Blakely said they're dangerous when thrown in the air, disassembled or otherwise modified from their intended use.
4. Smoke BombsSmoke bombs are among the safest fireworks available at stands, according to Blakely, but small packages can cause serious burns."Anything can be flammable," Blakely said.She recommends revelers read and follow the directions on the package, and to make sure they're submerged in water for 15 minutes before discarding them.