Despite legal prohibitions on shooting off fireworks, the private pyrotechnic displays are held throughout Midcoast neighborhoods.

And those unauthorized shows frequently lead to complaints from other residents.

Even though, the sale and use of fireworks are illegal in communities such as Rockland, Camden, and Rockport, no one has been charged despite the numerous complaints that are called into police.

The peak of the the use of fireworks — both legal and illegal — is around Independence Day. This year was no different.

Rockland Deputy Police Chief Joel Neal said the department received around 13 calls about fireworks from July 1 through July 5.

No one was issued a summons for the activity. Neal said the department tends to lean more towards educating and warning than issuing a summons to appear in court.

Camden and Rockport Police Chief Randy Gagne said there was one complaint in Camden and two from Rockport about fireworks being shot off during the holiday weekend.

“Education is always first. If we receive a second call then a summons would be appropriate,” Chief Gagne said.

The chief said he does not believe the departments have issued summonses in either town. In the Camden complaint, officers were unable to locate anyone. In the Rockport cases, officers educated the people about the law.

The Maine Legislature approved legislation in 2011 to allow the sale and use of fireworks in Maine after about a 40-year prohibition. But the state law, allows municipalities to prohibit that if their local legislative bodies agreed. The state law took effect Jan. 1, 2012.

The Rockland City Council voted unanimously in November 2011 for an ordinance to ban both the sale and use of fireworks.

The ordinance does not prohibit the possession of fireworks.

Back in 2011, then Rockland Fire Chief Charles Jordan had said the ban was needed to prevent injuries and because Rockland is densely packed with older buildings and allowing the use of fireworks could create a fire hazard.

Violation of the city ordinance would result in a fine of $250 to $500 for a first offense and $500 to $1,000 for further violations.

Camden voters adopted a ban in December 2011 at a special town meeting. The penalty is $200 to $400 for first offenses. Subsequent offenses are $300 to $600.

Rockport voters approved a fireworks ban in November 2020 by a vote of 1,473 – 991.

South Thomaston  voters approved a fireworks ordinance in March 2017 by a 40-11 vote. The ordinance limits use of fireworks to from 2 p.m. to 90 minutes after sunset, except around the July 4 holiday and New Year’s, when fireworks can be used later.

At that town meeting, one resident raised concerns about how fireworks cause injury, anxiety and panic to animals, especially birds. Other residents complained about the constant noise on summer evenings caused by fireworks use.