Be smart and stay safe

You’ve seen them — they sprout up all over the place this time of year. We’re talking about those large white tents in retail parking lots and on normally vacant properties. They are filled with fireworks and excited young people (and some not so young) who are looking to add a little sparkle to their Fourth of July celebrations.

It became legal to start selling this season’s fireworks as of last Sunday, June 23, and if you haven’t already heard them, you’re sure to notice those occasional bangs and pops in the days leading up to and beyond the Fourth of July.

It can be an exciting time for people, young and old alike, and there is no shortage of opportunities to see some pretty impressive aerial displays of fireworks around Lincoln County. We have detailed the schedule of fireworks shows and related Fourth of July activities elsewhere in this edition of the News-Times.

But while the holiday celebrations can create some great family memories, people also need to take some precautions and use a bit of common sense. Lighting a device that goes bang, pop, shoots sparks into the air or does a combination of all three means there is a potential fire danger. We are in wildfire season, and summer days on the coast are often accompanied by a brisk north wind. Put fireworks into that mix, and things could get out of hand pretty quickly if people aren’t careful.

State Fire Marshal Jim Walker said, "Fire risk in Oregon is already high, and as the weeks go by that risk will only increase, so there is no room for error in fireworks safety." Also, the fire marshal’s office encourages everyone to practice the four Bs of safe fireworks use:

  • Be prepared before lighting fireworks: keep water available by using a garden hose or bucket;
  • Be safe when lighting fireworks: keep children and pets away from fireworks;
  • Be responsible after lighting fireworks: never relight a dud — wait 15 to 20 minutes then soak it in a bucket of water before disposal;
  • Be aware: use only legal fireworks and use them only in legal places.

With miles of sandy beaches bordering our county, that would seem to be an ideal place to set off fireworks, but authorities remind people that the use of fireworks is prohibited on all beaches, as well as in national forestland and in Oregon state parks.

We encourage adults to keep a close watch on their young children whenever they are around fireworks and ensure that those holiday memories are happy ones, not ones filled with regret. Also, take time to enjoy the festivities around Lincoln County — there is bound to be something happening near where you live.

And while you are enjoying the Fourth of July holiday, remember what it is we’re really celebrating. Sometimes we forget that it’s actually called Independence Day. Our independence, and the freedoms that go along with that, is not something we should ever take for granted.