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Yreka extends fireworks ban through the summer

Steve Morgan

Yreka is extending last year’s ban on fireworks through the summer, in expectation of an active fire season this year.

The past few months have been some of the driest on record in the Jefferson region, according to the National Weather Service.

Add Yreka to the list of cities banning fireworks this summer, in response to the region-wide drought conditions.

Jerry Lemos is the Fire Chief in Yreka.

“We’ve been fortunate lately that we’ve gotten some precipitation," he says. "But we’ve been having a lot of wind events anyway and with warmer temperatures comes the drying of the fuels.”

Yreka joins nearby cities Weed and Mt. Shasta in banning the personal use of fireworks.

CAL FIRE says hundreds of fires are sparked every year from fireworks, and they can be easily misused.

“I mean if everyone was extremely careful, and planned it out really well; we may not have a problem," says Lemos. "I think you’re just rolling the dice when it comes to fireworks in drought conditions: dry fuels, windy conditions. I mean those are all part of the recipe for disaster.”

While fireworks are banned in most cities nearby, no official ruling stands in Siskiyou County. Lemos worries folks itching to light some sparklers may drive just outside the city to get them.

He says there’s only so much the city can do to control the danger posed by fireworks.

Siskiyou County officials says it's likely we could see a ban on fireworks county-wide this year, but nothing has been set in stone.

Up north, the sale of fireworks is still allowed in Jackson, Josephine and Klamath Counties; but Ashland, Medford and Grants Pass have all either banned or restricted the use of fireworks within city limits. Jackson County commissioners considered a ban last year, but never followed through.

Klamath Falls has yet to ban fireworks, despite calls from some community members.

Although they may be banned for personal use, there’s still the possibility of a professional display in Yreka, a safer alternative many cities have chosen to avoid the risks associated with amateur displays.

After graduating from Oregon State University, Roman came to JPR as part of the Charles Snowden Program for Excellence in Journalism in 2019. He then joined Delaware Public Media as a Report For America fellow before returning to the west coast.