The Coast Guard is reminding the public of the consequences of illegal flare-lighting after a helicopter crew witnessed multiple flares being fired near Cannon Beach Monday.

An MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew from Air Station Astoria responded to a report of flares at 2 a.m. Monday. The crew witnessed individuals firing dozens of flares from shore before fleeing into the forest.

“It is against the law to fire distress flares unless in an emergency situation,” said John Bennett, an operations unit member with Sector Columbia River. “Flares signal that somebody is in immediate danger and needs assistance. False activation can tie up emergency resources and delay the response to genuine emergency calls.”

There are severe penalties for the misuse of flares, including the cost of the response. The Coast Guard recommends people report flare sightings to emergency responders.

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