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'Sky lanterns' prohibited across the state

Aerial luminaries, commonly referred to as “sky lanterns,” are prohibited throughout the state, according to the Office of the State Fire Marshal.

State Fire Marshal Brian S. Geraci said in a press release that his office regularly receives requests from the public concerning these devices, which are typically constructed with oiled rice paper on bamboo frames. The devices are released into the atmosphere using a lit candle or fuel cell that heats the trapped air inside making the lantern take flight. The luminary then floats away with the upper air currents. Once airborne, they may travel significant distances away from the release site and return to earth, often before the flame is fully extinguished, the press release stated. This action can result in combustibles at the landing site to become engulfed in flames, potentially creating an uncontrolled fire involving a structure or vegetation.

“The use of sky lanterns during any celebration can turn into tragedy if they land on someone’s house, over any flammable materials or people,” Geraci said in the release. “We must protect the lives and property of the citizens we serve. These devices represent a threat to public safety and aviation.”

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