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Lincoln County considers fireworks ban

Chris Lehman
The Echo Mountain Complex Fire burned hundreds of homes in unincorporated Lincoln County in Sept, 2020.

The Lincoln County Board of Commissioners discussed an ordinance Wednesday that would allow them to ban the use of fireworks during hot, dry weather.

The measure would apply in unincorporated parts of the county, although at least four cities in the county have already passed or are considering similar restrictions. Those include Waldport and Depoe Bay, which both passed an ordinance last year; Newport, which adopted an ordinance earlier this year, and Lincoln City, where one has been proposed.

A vote on the proposed countywide ordinance is scheduled for early June.

The county's version wouldn’t be an outright ban on the sale and use of fireworks, but it would allow commissioners to quickly implement a ban if fire officials say weather conditions make the use of fireworks especially dangerous.

"Essentially it's giving us permission to do that on a yearly basis if we think conditions justify it," said Commissioner Claire Hall.

But Lincoln County Sheriff Curtis Landers told commissioners that if a ban were put in place, he doesn’t anticipate widespread enforcement of it.

“It just turns into a prioritization challenge for us," he said. "We have to look at other calls that probably rise higher on the priority list before we can respond to that type of incident.”

Commissioner Kaety Jacobson said she hopes people in Lincoln County will, over time, adjust their view on the best way to celebrate Independence Day.

“I think there’s been some change in the north part of the county around fireworks, having been through a fire," she said. "And that’s the type of change we don’t want, right? We don’t want to have to learn the hard way.”

If approved, the ordinance would not restrict public fireworks displays that are done by professionals.

Chris Lehman has been reporting on Oregon issues since 2006. He joined the KLCC news department in December, 2018 and became News Director in March, 2023. Chris was born and raised in Pennsylvania, and graduated from Temple University with a degree in journalism. His public broadcasting career includes stops in Louisiana and Illinois. Chris has filed for national programs including “Morning Edition” and “All Things Considered.”