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The 'four be's' of fireworks

July is the month when fireworks get the most use, so it makes sense that most fires sparked by fireworks happen then, too.

In 2016, 150 of the 192 fires caused by fireworks in the state occurred in July, according to the Oregon State Fire Marshal's Office.

With Independence Day just around the corner — and following a stretch of days with triple-digit temperatures in southwestern Oregon — fire officials are reminding residents to play it safe and by the rules.

"Over the last five years (2012-2016), there was $2.1 million worth of damage to property and, tragically, one death due to fireworks," said Mark Johnston, regulatory services unit supervisor for the Oregon State Fire Marshal's Office.

Fire officials recommend following the "four be's."

Be prepared

Fireworks should be stored out of reach of children, and directions for each product should be heeded. Users should always have water handy.

Be safe

Keep fireworks away from children, pets and flammable materials, and light them one at a time on a hard, dry surface.

"A concrete surface, dry dirt, asphalt — that's going to be your best bet," said Ashley Blakely, Jackson County Fire District 3 public information officer.

Be responsible

Lit fireworks should be soaked in a bucket of water. Duds should be left alone for 15 to 20 minutes, then soaked. Users should not attempt to relight a dud firework.

Be aware

Under Oregon law, which Medford follows, fireworks that fly into the air, explode or travel more than 12 feet horizontally are illegal without a permit. All fireworks are prohibited on beaches, in state parks and on state and federal forestlands.

Illegal fireworks may be seized, and users could be fined up to $500 per violation. If a firework does start a fire, the person who set it may be required to pay for firefighting costs and other damage. Parents are liable for any damage caused by fireworks set off by their children.

Users should also be aware of ordinances in their city. Jacksonville, Talent and Rogue River, for example, do not allow fireworks. Ashland allows only wire-core sparklers, smoke bombs, snakes and party poppers.

— Reach reporter Ryan Pfeil at 541-776-4468 or rpfeil@mailtribune.com. Follow him at www.twitter.com/ryanpfeil.

The 'four be's' of fireworks