Ban Flying Lanterns

Canada Day and the 4th of July celebrations in the U.S. are fast approaching and cottage owners are once again crossing their fingers that someone won’t set the forest on fire or burn down the entire community with the use of fireworks.

This year, the concerns are even greater due to the increasing popularity of airborne Chinese wish lanterns.

Flying Lanterns At The Lake

Also known as sky lanterns, floating lanterns, wish lanterns, and Chinese lanterns, the current versions of these flying fire starters are capable of burning for up to twenty minutes. For people living in cottage country, this is a frightening and serious threat.

Once the lantern has been lit and released there is absolutely no way to control its path of flight. In twenty minutes the lantern can easily be caught by a sudden breeze and carried off into the forest or onto the roof of a neighbouring property. One small spark is all it takes to start a fire that can wipe out hundreds of acres of forest and all the homes, cabins, and cottages in the surrounding area.

Unlike a city fire, which can be reached and controlled quickly by fire fighters, an inferno out on the lake tends to destroy just about everything in a broad swath and often only subsides once it has run out of fuel, is controlled by rain, or the fire bombers finally manage to contain the area being burned.

In any situation these products are a serious fire hazard. In communities surrounded by woodland, they are a recipe for disaster. In fact, the thought that these lanterns can be legally sold at all is puzzling in itself, but in towns and cities surrounded by forests, like the northwestern Ontario town of Kenora, the sale of airborne fire lanterns should be banned completely.

Spreading The Word
Recognizing the seriousness of the risk, the Lake Of The Woods District Property Owners Association (LOWDPOA) is mobilizing its members and reaching out to the media and various government agencies to try to get these products banned.

Susan McLeod, the LOWDPOA Executive Director, recently spoke to CBC Radio Noon Manitoba about the threats posed by the new and improved flying lanterns. She encouraged people to visit their local retailers and ask the store owners to remove the lanterns from the shelves.

Listen to the interview and check out the progress of their efforts to get the lanterns banned at LOWDPOA.

Most cottage owners are sensible enough to know they shouldn’t celebrate the long weekend using airborne fire starters, but for some reason others arrive every summer with an arsenal of fireworks and put everyone at risk.

For those of you who rent a cabin or cottage during the holiday weekend please leave the fireworks in the city, especially the flying wish lanterns.

I realize that safety advice for cottagers comes out at a regular clip, and some people get tired of being told what they should or shouldn’t do at the lake, but this one should be a no-brainer, folks.

The summer holiday wish could turn into your ultimate nightmare.

Written by: Andrew Walker

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