Not only are the sky lanterns, or aerial luminaries, illegal, they also present a fire risk

CANBY FIRE DISTRICT - Canby Fire Battalion Chief Todd Gary holds one of the sky lanterns found in Canby recently.Three sky lanterns have landed on Canby properties over the last month. The lanterns are illegal in Oregon, and they present a fire hazard, especially during hot summer months.

The first was found at BBC Steel in mid-June, and the second was also found at BBC Steel this week, according to Canby Fire Battalion Chief Todd Gary. On Tuesday, July 17, a third was found at Eccles Elementary School, Gary said.

Sky lanterns are also known as aerial luminaries, Chinese lanterns, mini hot air balloons, UFO balloons and wish lanterns. They contain a small candle or fuel cell composed of waxy flammable material. When lit, the flame heats the air inside the lantern thus lowering its density and causing the lantern to rise into the air. They can travel significant distances from the point of release.

"They're really cool and all that, but they're illegal in Oregon," Gary said.

According to Canby Fire, the lanterns could potentially start a fire on or off the property from which they are released.

Because of this, most states, plus countries such as Germany, Austria and Brazil have outlawed the release of sky lanterns, including Oregon. As of January 1, 2017, releasing a sky lantern into Oregon airspace is considered a Class A violation, subject to a maximum penalty of $2,000.

Canby Fire encourages anyone who finds a lantern to call the police at 503-655-8211.

Kristen Wohlers
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