PORTLAND — Portland’s 4th of July fireworks this year will be shot from a barge anchored in Casco Bay about 200 feet off the Eastern Promenade shoreline, near Pomeroy Rock, the event organizers announced today.

Moving the fireworks offshore will make the event safer and open up areas that had previously been closed off, including the playgrounds, tennis courts and ball fields, said organizers of the 2012 Stars and Stripes Spectacular.

At the Portland 4th of july fireworks show in 1997, a defective fuse caused a rocket to explode three feet off the ground and left one man hospitalized and two others injured.

In 2010, a utility truck carrying some fireworks caught fire on Portland’s East End Beach shortly after the city’s fireworks show ended around 10 p.m. A fire technician told WCSH that a firework went off a foot above the trailer and set the trailer on fire.

For spectators on the Eastern Promenade, the 2012 fireworks will be visible behind the music stage.

The Portland Symphony Orchestra, led by musical director Robert Moody, will perform a free Patriotic Pops concert to begin at approximately 7:40 p.m. and continue through the finale of the fireworks display over Casco Bay.

The program, which will be announced prior to the event, will include the 60-member choir noted for performing with the PSO during its popular Magic of Christmas show.

“The view from the hill of the stage with the fireworks behind it over Casco Bay will be absolutely stunning,” said Jon Jennings, president and general manager of the Maine Red Claws and one of the founding partners of the privately funded event.

Quirk Chevrolet, Wright Express and The Portland Press Herald are also founding partners.

Bangor Savings Bank will be this year’s presenting sponsor.

Fore River Dock and Dredge and Portland Tugs are providing the barge at no extra cost.

This YouTube video filmed from Casco Bay shows Portland’s 2010 fireworks display in which the launching platform catches fire, leading to unplanned low-level explosions.