The Fourth of July is right around the corner, and fireworks are harder to come by than usual. A nationwide shortage of fireworks has affected stands across the country, including in Baker City.

Kristin Neff, who runs a firework stand on Campbell Street, said she received about 60% of the fireworks she usually gets each year.

“This year when the boxes got here, I was like, ‘Are you kidding me?’ ” Neff said. “What do you mean, you don’t have colored smoke balls?”

Each year, she puts in the order for the next year on July 5, only one day after the big day. The order is a seven-page list of everything she needs, plus whatever her supplier recommends based on her previous sales.

Neff said fireworks that crackle are usually her best sellers, and she’s already had to make multiple reorders for those. The crackling type comes from China, where there’s been a significant shipping delay due to a shortage of longshoremen and truck drivers.

“We’re lucky that we got anything that crackles,” Neff said.

Her stand is a fundraiser for the Apostolic Lighthouse Church of Baker City, where her husband, Nathan Neff, is the pastor. This year, she said, people have been nervous that they might not be able to set the fireworks off at all due to extreme heat and the risk the explosives pose to wildfires.

“I just think the heat has made people nervous,” Neff said. “It’s kind of a lucky shot.”

Matt Diaz, who runs the firework stand in the Safeway parking lot, said he actually has about twice as much product as usual because he received all the fireworks that usually are sold from a stand in Ontario, which is not operating this year.

Diaz’s stand, which opened the evening of June 30, is a fundraiser for Baker City Harvest Church. Neff said the church serves as a Royal Rangers outpost, mentoring young men and women in the community to make good choices.

While his stand has more product than usual this year, he said he never received the big packages he typically gets to sell.

“We’ve had people come in, and that’s what they were looking for,” Diaz said. “I think that was part of the shortage, is that the manufacturing of those was not on the priority lists.”

No local fireworks ban

Although many Oregon cities and some counties have banned either the sale or use of fireworks, or both, due to high fire danger, no such prohibition is in place in Baker City.

City Manager Jonathan Cannon said he discussed the issue with Fire Chief Sean Lee, but they decided a ban wasn’t necessary.

“The reality is in the state of Oregon most fireworks are illegal and banned already,” Cannon said. “Our feeling was that we did not need to add onto that ban, but to appeal to people to consider celebrating the Fourth of July without fireworks because of the risk of fire.”

Oregon bans firecrackers, bottle rockets, roman candles and many other types of fireworks that are popular in other states.

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