Most fireworks in Maryland are illegal but there are a few that are allowed. Since it is hard to disguise the sound of fireworks, it makes sense to get the ones that are legal – and safe, particularly if there are children or pets nearby.

Consumer Fireworks in Maryland are Restricted

If you’re planning a display of do-it-yourself fireworks in Maryland  to celebrate the 4th of July this year, knowing the state’s law on consumer fireworks is a must.

Fireworks laws have been greatly deregulated since the turn of the century. Some types of fireworks are legal everywhere, except in Massachusetts, where it’s illegal to buy or sell any consumer fireworks, or even to bring them in from states where they are legal. Fortunately Maryland permits some fireworks, even though Maryland police and fire departments urge residents to leave the 4th of July fireworks to the professionals or face fines.

What Fireworks in Maryland are Legal?

In Maryland, most fireworks — including bottle rockets, firecrackers, Roman candles, fire balloons, and signal lights — are illegal.  Only gold-labeled sparklers, novelty items — such as party poppers, snap pops, and snakes — and ground-based sparkler devices are allowed in Maryland, says the state fire marshal’s office.

Maryland allows these types of fireworks, according to the state’s fireworks page:

  • gold-labeled sparklers
  • novelty items (i.e. party poppers, snap pops, snakes)
  • ground based sparkler device

These types of fireworks are not allowed:

  • Firecrackers, Cherry Bombs, Black Cats, M-80’s, Crackling Ball’s, and Smoke Bombs
  • Roman Candles, and Bottle Rockets (whistling and/or with report)
  • Sky Rockets, Helicopter-type Rockets, Spinning Wheels, Moving Tanks
  • Any firework shot from a mortar tube

Counties May Be More Restrictive than the State

Even though Maryland permits some consumer fireworks, counties and cities may adopt stricter codes and ordinances. And in extreme drought or high-wind conditions, local fire officials may prohibit them.  For instance, fireworks are illegal in Baltimore City, Montgomery and Prince George’s counties, and ground based sparklers are prohibited in Ocean City, Harford and Howard counties, according to the American Pyrotechnics Association.  Residents can check the Maryland State Fire Marshal’s list of public fireworks displays granted permits throughout the year.  To see what fireworks events around Montgomery County are scheduled for this year, just click here.

If you want to see what else is going on around the DC area, here are some more suggestions

Which Fireworks in DC are Allowed?


Article 27, DC Register, F-2700.1.1: The manufacture, storage, display, sale, setting off, or discharge of any firework listed below is prohibited in the District of Columbia.

  • Firecrackers of any kind or description
  • Any firework that explodes, such as cherry bombs, salutes, Roman candles, floral shells, artillery shells
  • Any firework intended to move after the piece is placed and fired; such as bottle rockets, parachutes, buzzbombs, pinwheels, helicopters, jumping jacks
  • Sparklers more than 20 inches (50mm) in length
  • Any firework that contains mercury, arsenic, tetryl, phosporous, sulphocyanide, magnesium, potassium picrate, gallic acid, chlorate of potash and sugar, or any highly oxidizing agent
  • Any firework having a side fuse, or a fuse inserted at any point along the length of the firework
  • Any firework found by the code official to be dangerous to the safety of persons or property


Article 27, District of Columbia Register, F-2700.1.2) states that the fireworks listed below are permitted to be stored, displayed, sold, delivered, used, and possessed in accordance with the provisions of that article.

  • Any firework specifically excepted in this article
  • Toy paper caps containing not more than twenty-five hundredths (0.25) of a grain of explosive composition per cap
  • Sparklers not more than 20 inches (50mm) in length
  • Torches, cones
  • Box fires, fountains
  • Dip-sticks, non-poisonous snakes
  • Paper novelty items, colored lights

Remember that Fireworks Stress Your D

Days like the 4th of July are a challenge in our house. My first poodle, Poirot, just didn’t like the sound of the explosions and cracks of thunder or the way the air changes during a storm. It began to get better as he got older because his hearing was not as acute as it once was but waiting for your dog to turn 14 is not one of my tips!  Now, we have an active 3 year old standard, Captain, and the fireworks are annoying to him just like they were to Poirot as a young pup.  Since fireworks start before the 4th of July and go for several days leading up to the big day, I think we are in for a few noisy nights with Captain trading lots of barks for every bang of fireworks he hears. With that in mind, I am going to try some of these tips and I am happy to share them with you.

1. Exercise your dog before the fireworks start!

Make time in your schedule to give your an extra long workout before the fireworks begin. Tired dogs are calmer and easier to keep quiet. They will also sleep more deeply, and consequently, will be less likely to be disturbed by the noise outside.

2. Stay home with your dog.

I understand that not everyone can stay at home on the 4th, but your dog’s fear of fireworks can be exacerbated if you aren’t there to provide reassurance that they are safe. This is especially important if you have a a new dog in the house because you won’t know how it reacts to fireworks.

To read more tips about how to keep your dog calmer during the fireworks, just keep reading here.

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