State

Pretty but dangerous lanterns banned

CHICAGO – What goes up must come down – and if it’s a floating lantern, it poses a serious danger.

That’s why the Illinois fire marshal’s office has issued an official notice banning sky lanterns in the state. The pretty but hazardous devices are also sometimes called aerial luminaries.

The notice follows a May 14 vote by the marshal’s Consumer Fireworks Review Committee that put sky lanterns on the list of prohibited fireworks.

State Fire Marshal Larry Matkaitis said sky lanterns launched during celebrations “can turn into tragedy.”

Officials said the lanterns can travel long distances, starting forest or house fires when they finally drift down to earth. Aviation authorities have also expressed concerns the devices can distract or disorient pilots.

Illinois joins many other states with similar bans.

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