Although legal, Fire Marshall warns against sky lanterns

By: Ian Hest

In the past Legislative session, there was talk of banning sky lanterns, but it was never passed. You can still set them off, but the State Fire Marshall says it's still a bad idea.

While they're still legal, State Fire Marshall, John Falgione, warns of their dangers. Sky lanterns, basically a balloon with a candle in it, are debated each year at this time.

Religious groups use them but they're also set off during Fourth of July celebrations, a dangerous display of patriotism according to Falgione.

“The sky lanterns are a real concern because there's no control over these things when you send them into the wind. The air current carries those balloons off and you never know where they're going to land,” said Fire Marshall Falgione.

He says with the dry weather we've seen in Nebraska this summer, all fireworks, not just sky lanterns can be particularly dangerous.

“It'll ignite really fast. It doesn't take much to set off this dry grass with this high heat and low humidity,” he said.

So far this month, we've seen almost and inch and a half less rainfall than we're used to. The Fire Marshall says that means everyone needs to be aware of the possibility for a fire. “If someone does go out and has their own displays, which many people do and that's fine, we just ask them to be extremely cautious. Have a water supply source nearby, a garden hose, bucket, something like that and keep track of those things,” Falgione says.

He also says watch out for trees or homes in the area, anything that could be a possibly ignition source. Fireworks go on sale in Lincoln Tuesday morning.