Yesterday the City of Salem banned the use of fireworks, as did two fire districts adjoining Salem. Now the City Council should implement a permanent ban on the sale and use of fireworks.
The reasons given for yesterday's ban only scratch the surface of what's wrong with fireworks. Sure, high temperatures, low humidity, and wind gusts make setting off fireworks especially dangerous in terms of starting fires.
But those conditions are the new normal for early July in this era of rapidly accelerating global warming. Yesterday, Tuesday July 4, was the hottest day on record for our planet. The average worldwide temperature broke the record set just the day before. And not just by a little, by three tenths of a degree Fahrenheit.
On Monday, the average global temperature reached 17.01 degrees Celsius (62.62 Fahrenheit), the highest in the US National Centers for Environmental Prediction’s data, which goes back to 1979. On Tuesday, it climbed even further, reaching 17.18 degrees Celsius. The previous record of 16.92 degrees Celsius was set in August 2016.
The European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service on Wednesday also tweeted that Monday’s global temperature was a record in its data set.
Experts warn that the record could be broken several more times this year. Robert Rohde, lead scientist at Berkeley Earth, said in a Twitter post on Tuesday that the world “may well see a few even warmer days over the next 6 weeks.”
I give credit to Salem's new City Manager, Keith Stahley, for banning fireworks this year, something the previous City Manager, Steve Powers, refused to do in 2021 when July 4 also was marked by drought and high heat. Now it's time to make the ban permanent.
On July 4, 2021 I marked the occasion by writing a blog post about how bad fireworks are.
In brief, they start fires; they cause trauma to pets; they scare wildlife; they create highly toxic gases and pollutants that poison the air, the water and the soil; and one more that I neglected to include in the post: they harm veterans with PTSD and others who are triggered by loud explosions.
Here's some recent fireworks-related comments from a popular Facebook page dealing with issues concerning the Salem City Council.
We've said before that the escalating illegal fireworks issue would lead to a total ban of all fireworks because for years now they've just thumbed their noses at complaints about no enforcement of illegal fireworks laws. To the point where it's ongoing for months at all hours. The 3rd was horrifically loud. Last night even SPD was talking about dangerous "massive explosions." City of Salem needs to start confiscating and ticketing. It's ridiculous.
I completely agree. For all intents and purposes, Salem has allowed illegal fireworks to become legal, through years of lack of enforcement. A ban on legal fireworks today, while laudable, has done nothing to curb the bombs and other illegal projectiles from going off this afternoon.
Last year the Salem Police Chief said that SPD would not be enforcing fireworks ordinances. This year the Fire Marshall issued a ban on all but organized (eg the City of Salem fireworks at the Fairgrounds) displays and then immediately went on to say don't report those who are illegally setting-off fireworks! The result of these bizaar actions of Salem's officialdom is just what we would suspect: fireworks use has gone off the scale! In my Wesst Salem neighborhood there are this evening constant explosions of very large fireworks.
We spent part of last night with the dog in his thunder vest and a sedative, but it took him a while to calm down. This am I was out before 10 picking berries and sure enough, a loud boom which set off the dog and irritated the hell out of me. Frankly, I don't care why the damn things get banned, but this nonsense needs to end. I have come to dislike this holiday when it should just be a nice time to have a summer BBQ without sounding like we are in a war zone.
We had two solid hours of a neighbor launching illegal fireworks from an illegal mortar launcher last night. There is no longer any fear of consequences…it’s right out in the open.
I have always loved fireworks, but watching how my pets cower with the booms, and hearing of the fright faced by small children and individuals with PTSD, and seeing the danger they pose to vegetation, wildlife, and structures, makes me now want them banned. We don’t need personal fireworks or even public displays. Let’s ban them in Salem. Please!
It sounded like a major battle going on across the street in the church parking lot. Plus it was a major clean up for the day care workers this morning.
It's crazy that the City of Salem allows the sale of fireworks at lots of stands set up all around town, and apparently has zero enforcement against illegal fireworks, then issues a ban on setting off fireworks on the very day of July 4, which means hardly anyone knows about the ban, and even if they did know, they've already bought their fireworks so are going to set them off anyway -- especially since there are no consequences for doing this.
Many cities in Oregon have banned fireworks. Salem should join them. Back in 2021 this was the list that I reported on in my blog post.
These are the Oregon cities and counties that have banned fireworks: Portland (and bans sales), Multnomah County (and bans sales), Milwaukie (and bans sales), Tigard, Tualatin, Gresham, West Linn, Hood River, The Dalles, Newberg, unincorporated Clackamas County, Bend. Most of these places, like Salem, are in northwest Oregon. They have almost exactly the same weather and fire risk level.