Fire and Police Bureaus all over Oregon have additional enforcement duties today, trying to head off illegal fireworks and related accidents.
At dusk, Michael Silva of Portland Fire and Rescue scans the scene out his window and makes it official. "They're's starting," he says.
Kathryn Boyd-Batstone / OPB
Michael Silva of the Portland Fire & Rescue (left) and Police Officer Rob Garrison (right) work together to spot illegal fireworks to create a safer city.
As the sun goes sinks, Silva and his partner for the night, Rob Garrison, begin a busy shift of driving around, responding to reports of fireworks that are banned in Oregon. Nine teams of inspectors and police are patrolling this weekend. Silva says the past few years, stepped-up enforcement has made a difference, but these are still busy nights.
"When they start going off, we go from one to the next, to the next."
Garrison slams the vehicle door as the pair approaches an East Portland couple, who have one spent Roman Candle on the ground in front of them, and a bag of other illegal fireworks in hand.
The team confiscates illegal works in paper bags and had out citation after citation.
Silva hunches over the paperwork and points to the couple, "You can appeal this if you want to the fire marshal's office."
Garrison quickly adds, "This is not a criminal citation."
Anyone caught setting off a banned display gets a $750 fine. Possession merits a fine of $500 dollars.
"Are these things like a traffic ticket," the man hopefully adds, "where you can't get the same thing in twenty-four hours?"
Garrison replies with a flat, "No."
"It will actually double, to fifteen hundred," says Silva.
The man apologizes repeatedly, and explains he actually has a brother who works as a smoke jumper out of state.
Everything the team seizes comes from Washington State or from Indian reservations. Silva and Garrison advise sticking to fireworks sold in local stores and roadside stands, which are all legal.
Rob Garrison "Alright guys, be safe and try to enjoy your Fourth."
This story originally appeared on Oregon Public Broadcasting.