Fiery lanterns are not welcome in this Okanagan city - InfoNews

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Fiery lanterns are not welcome in this Okanagan city

Fire Lanterns. Friend or foe?
Image Credit: Creative Commons
May 24, 2019 - 7:00 PM

VERNON-  Fiery floating lanterns raised the ire of three Okanagan men who were recently fishing on Wood Lake and, like them, one local government wants to make sure they're not being used in the future.

The Backing Boys, who "fish B.C. and laugh along the way" on their YouTube channel, were out on Wood Lake April 29, when they saw bright orbs rise into the air. They fished them out of the water and pointed out the inherent risk of sending "fiery bags of death" into the night sky. The video had thousands of views and earned a lot of angry comments about the irresponsible choice.

Vernon city council recently looked into introducing a sky lantern ban if needed. Luckily for the council, no new legislation was needed as the use of sky lanterns, although not mentioned by name, falls under the current fire bylaw.

The current bylaw states "every person who starts any outdoor fire... shall be responsible for the care and control of such fire."

It would be difficult to argue a flaming lantern is under control when it's a kilometre away in the sky.

While Vernon had its bases covered, other municipalities, cities and regional districts generally have their own open fire bylaws. Some choose to be governed under the jurisdiction of the B.C. Wildfire Service Kamloops Fire Centre, which covers south-central B.C.

Currently, the Kamloops Fire Centre has no fire restrictions in place and nothing to prohibit the use of sky lanterns. A fire centre spokesperson said the lanterns would fall under the same category as tiki torches which could be prohibited if the fire risk was extremely high and a ban on all recreational flames came into place. Currently, there's no ban in place.

But don't think that means you can just head outside to release a burning lantern into the sky because depending on where you live it could well be illegal, as well as foolish. 

READ MORE: FLAMING BAGS OF DEATH ARE POLLUTANTS

The City of Kamloops was early to highlight the dangers of the lanterns. In 2016 the city reminded residents that sky lanterns could travel up to two kilometres into the sky and fines for releasing them in the city started at $500.

Penticton falls into the same category outlawing them under open burning regulations.


To contact a reporter for this story, email Ben Bulmer or call (250) 309-5230 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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