Jan Doherty

What’s wrong with this picture?

Jan Doherty, Public Education Officer, No Phone Number Available

Friday, July 10, 2015 at 11:03 a.m.

What’s wrong with this picture?

Sky lantern - photo by GuillaumeG

Chinese sky lanterns, miniature hot-air balloons constructed of rice paper on a bamboo or wire frame and fueled by an open flame, have become increasingly popular at weddings, memorial services and festivals in recent years.

Sky lanterns are illegal in Spokane City and County at any time and for any occasion. Once sky lanterns are launched, they cannot be controlled.  Persons who light and launch these open-flame lanterns will be fined and held responsible for firefighting costs as well as property damage.

Sky lanterns are currently outlawed in about 25 states, many foreign countries, and in any jurisdiction that abides by the International Fire Code (Section 305.1) or the National Fire Protection Association. 

A recent release of sky lanterns near the Idaho State line underscores that fire hazards can easily cross state boundaries and travel through jurisdictions that outlaw their use. A huge variety of inexpensive sky lanterns are readily available through the internet. Inexpensive does not mean “cheap” when the increased fire risk during this hot and dry summer is placed in the equation!  

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