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Sheriff warns of sky lantern safety

Staff Writer
The Chronicle Express
The Chronicle Express

Sheriff Ron Spike warns Yates County residents and everyone in the region of the dangers posed by the popularity in recent years of floating sky lanterns.

“With this Independence Day July 4th holiday weekend the tradition of lighting flares and use of fireworks, some legal and some not, around the Finger Lakes also brings increased use of sky lanterns,” says Spike.

The Japanese-style paper lanterns fly by the use of hot air generated by a flaming ball of fuel at the latern’s base. People light the lanterns to watch them rise in the night sky above the lakes. The Yates County Sheriff’s Office has had inquiries regarding the relationship of the Fire Code and sky lantern safety. Sheriff’s Patrols will be on our county highways and Marine Patrols on waterways responding to these complaints.

“These are recognized as a recreational fire hazard by N.Y.S. Fire Prevention and Control, and state fire code calls for them to be anchored or tethered when used, as they require constant attention for the safety of persons and property nearby,” says Spike, “We have previously had fires on adjacent lake property caused by the landing of lanterns doing damage when still lit. This is an issue in the interest of keeping everyone safe and not recklessly causing unwanted fires, contrary to the N.Y.S. Fire Code.”