Sky lanterns — miniature hot-air balloons that float into the air when a wax fuel cell is lighted — are now illegal in Hawaii, thanks to a statewide ban signed into law by Gov. Neil Abercrombie earlier this week. Violators face up to a year in a prison and possible fines of $1,000.
The lanterns have become hugely popular for weddings. Could Hawaii’s ban be the first of many more to come across the states?
Maybe so, according to The Wall Street Journal:
But fire chiefs across the U.S. have warned of the potential danger. Last year, local media reports quoted fire officials blaming a 900-acre forest fire near Myrtle Beach, S.C., on sky lanterns that had settled into a wooded area.
Fire marshals in Massachusetts, as well as California, Oregon and elsewhere, have also raised concerns in recent months.
Russ Karpisek, a Nebraska state senator, introduced a proposal to prohibit sky lanterns after one that was already extinguished landed on his home last year. The proposal was ultimately killed amid an outcry from opponents of the ban.
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Flickr Image courtesy of Alexandre Dulaunoy.