Sky Lanterns Cause Danger, Recently Banned in Illinois

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

The trend of releasing sky lanterns has caught on in the Midwest and it seems, just as quickly, the dangerous novelty have been banned in Illinois.

Event coordinator and owner of Exceptional Events, Peggy Terrey says releasing sky lanterns or wish lanterns is becoming more and more popular at weddings and other events.

A dense piece of cardboard is set on fire, filling the tissue with hot air.  The lanterns then act as miniature hot air balloons and fly into the sky.  The lanterns float until the flame goes out and then lands wherever the wind takes it.

Peggy Terrey says the danger comes as the lanterns land.

“It takes quite a bit of heat, a flame to actually ignite it so its burn temperature is not just the same as a piece of paper and when it comes down it is still very, very hot.

On July 1st, 2013, a paper lantern started a massive fire at a recycling plant in London.  The fire was so big it took more than 200 firefighters to put out and injured 11.

Terrey says depending on location, she usually asks her clients to skip the sky lanterns because regardless of what the trends may be, she believes that safety is first.

Recently, the state fire marshal declared the sky lanterns illegal in Illinois due to the danger they can cause.   They are also illegal in California, Hawaii, Minnesota, Tennessee and Virginia.  They're still legal in Iowa.