Fire companies did not report any serious fires stemming from use of illegal fireworks in recent years.
"I think we're fortunate around Westminster. … We haven't had any major incidents or anything like that," said Robert Cumberland, spokesman for the Westminster Volunteer Fire Department.
Leon Flemming, a spokesman for the Hampstead Volunteer Fire Company, also reported a lack of serious incidents.
Cumberland said his department is staffed normally over the holiday without any additional volunteers. Fire companies are prepared to respond to any fires that might result from fireworks, but nonemergency complaints about illegal fireworks go through law enforcement, he said.
Independence Day is one of the biggest days of the year for using illegal fireworks, Bouch said, but there are risks even with sparklers and other permitted fireworks.
Handheld sparklers burn at an intense 1,200 degrees, according to the National Fire Protection Agency. It's safest to wet the area where sparklers will be used and keep a bucket of water or hose nearby, Bouch said.
"You don't want to have children running around with sparklers," he said.
Along with improper supervision of juveniles, using fireworks while consuming alcohol is dangerous, Bouch said.
"The fireworks themselves haven't become more dangerous; it's the people who are using them," he said.
Bouch said the Office of the State Fire Marshal will be conducting patrols throughout the state looking for illegal fireworks displays.
Illegal fireworks are confiscated and violators face fines of up to $250 per item, according to Bouch. The confiscated fireworks are destroyed in an incinerator.
Cumberland said the county offers plenty of opportunities to see safe and professional fireworks displays around the area, from the volunteer fire department carnivals to the Fourth of July fireworks at the Carroll County Farm Museum.
"There's plenty of opportunities for people to go see them and go see them done professionally," he said.