Central Oregon wildfire grows, cities ban fireworks
SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Firefighters on Wednesday tried to contain a wildfire that burned 10,000 acres near the farming community of Dufur, Oregon.
Gov. Kate Brown invoked the Emergency Conflagration Act in response to the fire, allowing the state fire marshal to mobilize firefighters and equipment to help local firefighters. Some 40 personnel, 12 fire engines engines and other resources were on the scene, authorities said.
The fire was burning in wheat and brush in the sparsely populated area of north-central Oregon. Firefighters from the Portland area were among those assisting the effort to extinguish the blaze, which ignited Tuesday.
The FBI, meanwhile, on Wednesday offered a reward of up to $5,000 for information leading to the arrest, and conviction of those responsible for setting a fire on the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs Reservation on June 21.
The fire burned approximately 42 acres of brush and grass alongside Highway 3 near the reservation fish hatchery in central Oregon. Warm Springs emergency crews battled the blaze.
The FBI and the Warm Springs Police Department want anyone with information about the fire to contact them.
Brown on Tuesday declared a state of emergency to ensure every resource is made available for firefighting efforts.
“With the extended forecast in Oregon calling for unseasonably high temperatures with no rain in the forecast — and with 19 counties already in declared drought emergencies — the threat of wildfire in Oregon is imminent,” Brown said.
Several communities banned fireworks, a tradition during the Fourth of July holidays.
On Wednesday, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler signed an emergency declaration immediately banning all sales of fireworks in the city because of hot weather and dry conditions.
The ban comes one day after Portland Fire & Rescue announced a ban on the use of all fireworks through the holiday weekend.
“A decision like this doesn’t come easily but it’s imperative that we do all we can to ensure the everyone’s safety,” Wheeler said in a news release. “This sales ban is another necessary measure to reduce threats posed by wildfires to the city and all who live here.”
Bend, a city in Central Oregon’s high desert near the Cascade Range, was among other cities that also banned them, sparking ire among fireworks vendors.
Jake Dennis, working at the Discount Fireworks Superstore in the city, said the ban — in effect through July 9 — is “anti-American.”
“(They are) directly telling us what we can and cannot do on our driveway to celebrate our freedom, our liberty,” Dennis told local TV station KTVZ.
Bend City Councilor Gena Goodman-Campbell said there are other ways to mark the holiday safely.
“We know it’s been a long year-plus, and that you’re ready to celebrate, and we would just ask you to find safe ways to do that without, lighting fireworks,” she said.