When the Legislature considered legalizing fireworks in Maine, we thought it was a bad idea.

Sure, they can be pretty and exciting to watch, but in the wrong hands fireworks can also be dangerous. They don’t just hurt the people who misuse them. But they pose a threat to anyone who happens to be unlucky enough to be around when someone else decides to light the fuse.

Fireworks can cause fires, hence the name, and putting valuable property and the natural environment at risk for a few “oohs” and “aahs” on a summer evening would be a mistake.

We would have preferred that the Legislature had left the state’s existing ban on fireworks alone and avoided this unnecessary danger.

But that didn’t happen, and now it’s up to individual cities and towns to decide if they want to take the risk or keep the current ban in place.

If unrestricted fireworks use is a bad idea everywhere, it is an indubitably bad idea in Portland.

With its dense development and concentrated population, too much could go wrong.

Fortunately, the law allows communities to exempt themselves, and that is what Portland should do.

Other towns should consider doing the same.

People should be free to express themselves, but not if it puts their neighbors’ health and property at risk.

Let’s leave fireworks to the professionals at community Fourth of July celebrations and keep a reasonable law in place, if only locally.