Deeming sky lanterns a fire hazard, Grant County commissioners voted this week to ban them in unincorporated parts of the county, beginning June 1.
Anyone caught lighting one will be subject to a citation and $150 to $500 fine.
Sky lanterns are miniature hot air balloons made from paper that use an open flame to carry them into the air. They have been blamed for fires, vehicle accidents, and killing livestock that eat the rice paper and wire structures after they went out and landed in a field.
Commissioner Cindy Carter said the county fire marshal asked to have them banned, as they are growing in popularity. Fuel cells can stay lit from 5 to 15 minutes, depending on the lantern, and wind currents can carry them to trees or fields, creating a fire hazard, she said.
Carter said she doesn’t know of any incidents in Grant County prompting the request.
She said she is a proponent of fireworks, and would usually oppose new government regulations, “but this just seemed like something that is out of your control once you light it.”