EUGENE, Ore. -- With fireworks allowed to be used in city limits on July 3 and 4, Eugene police are increasing enforcement to crack down on people using illegal fireworks.
To help them find illegal fireworks, the city has launched a new app called "FireworksAlert." The app uses location information, and by snapping a quick photo of illegal fireworks and writing a brief description, users can report them to officials. Officials are hoping this is another tool they can use to curb illegal fireworks use in the city.
Just in the past week, EPD has responded to at least 36 calls for illegal fireworks. Comparing statistics between years, that number will likely grow as the holiday approaches.
In 2017, from July 1-3, there were 54 calls for illegal fireworks and on July 4, there were 77 calls about illegal fireworks. On July 4, 2016, there were 82 calls.
Most fireworks purchased at stands in Eugene are safe to use. Illegal fireworks are anything that fly, shoot something or explode.
Officials said fireworks are a big concern because of fire hazards, fuel around the city, and impacts to pets, neighbors and veterans.
"People who use fireworks legally we appreciate," said Lt. Doug Mozan of the Eugene Police Department. "The folks that use fireworks outside the boundries, like illegal fireworks, raise the risk of fire and other tragedies in our community."
Mozan said there will be extra officers from the police and fire departments patrolling Wednesday to make sure everyone is safe and to look for illegal fireworks.
Anyone caught using illegal fireworks can face fines or penalties. The base fine for illegal fireworks in $250. However, since possession of these fireworks is a class B misdemeanor, the maximum penalty is $2,500 and six months in jail.
Officals from Springfield Police Department said they have seen a decrease in how many illegal fireworks calls they have received. They said in part, it could be because of the City of Eugene's efforts.