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Abercrombie approves law banning sky lanterns

By Star-Advertiser staff

LAST UPDATED: 05:11 a.m. HST, Jul 11, 2012

Aerial luminaries, also known as sky lanterns, are no longer legal to own, buy, sell or use under a bill signed into law by Gov. Neil Abercrombie Tuesday.

Hawaii’s fire  department  officials have raised strong objections to the lanterns from the time fireworks merchants began selling them locally for the 2011 New Year’s celebration, calling them a hazardous item capable of igniting fires.

The lanterns feature a candle which creates heat that causes a paper balloon to inflate and rise as high as several hundred feet into the air. Fire officials said they worry because there is no way to control where the lanterns go or land, creating the potential for the attached candles to spark fires in the open environment.

Merchants argued that the lanterns are safe because they do not land until their candles are extinguished, eliminating any potential for setting fires.

Violating the new ban will constitute a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail, a $1,000 fine or both.

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HonoluluHawaii wrote:
Neil, is this your rendition of a New Day in Hawaii. I thought your mind was set on our Keiki and their education.
on July 10,2012 | 06:52PM
Changalang wrote:
Awesome. Nothing like the genius of retailers selling floating incendiary devices to the firebug masses. Sometimes you just have to shake your head. When those things showed up in mass in the Oahu skies on New Year's, three people left the party to go hose down their roofs. The distributors argument was that there is no proof that these things are a fire hazard. W-T-F.
on July 10,2012 | 07:08PM
rayhawaii wrote:
How many people were fined $1000 for illegal aerial fireworks each year? Probably 2 out of 100,000. Just say its not mine. Plus how are these lateens going to be banned when illegal aerials always coming into the state? Go lite em. No one going to do anything.
on July 10,2012 | 07:55PM
copperwire9 wrote:
Great. I'm glad you're not MY neighbor, but I pity folks who live near you.
on July 10,2012 | 08:07PM
bender wrote:
He's merely stating the facts of what is going on. During the recent 4th of July we had aerials going off in my neighborhood. But that wasn't enough, we also had them on the 5th and 6th. The point is they're making a new law and don't even enforce the ones on the book.
on July 11,2012 | 06:00AM
Changalang wrote:
Cell phone cameras are not your friend. Time to start suing negligent parties for damages and manpower costs via civil liability. Oahu needs to make a few criminal examples of arsonists, taking the new law into proper account. :)
on July 10,2012 | 08:21PM
cojef wrote:
Agree with you. These are incendiary devises, and should be outlawed for public safety reasons. Being able to youtube the release will help track down those "dodo-heads" and make them pay for the costs to property damages and charge the individual(s) should loss of life result.
on July 11,2012 | 08:27AM
Sandyfeet wrote:
I know a lot of people report these lanterns as maritime flares to 911 and the Coast Guard causing thousands of dollars of tax payers money going down the drain due to unnecessary searches. It's a good idea to ban them for a variety of reasons.
on July 10,2012 | 09:21PM
bobbob wrote:
these things should be illegal, but all banning them will do is have people turn to more lucrative imports like the aerials and whatnot. Burning embers when the thing lands can be a firehazard, but hosing down the roof? Laughable.... Your roof shakes are probalby the last thing on the exterior of the house that would catch fire. More dangerous is if these things land in brush or in the rat nest of junk that people like to pile around their homes.
on July 11,2012 | 05:25AM
juscasting wrote:
"Merchants argued that the lanterns are safe because they do not land until their candles are extinguished, eliminating any potential for setting fires" Only if trades are 0-5 mph. Set them off when the trades are blowing at the common 10-20 mph and they will fly right into the nearest hillside or mountain.
on July 11,2012 | 08:49AM
badcard36 wrote:
Good point. Ridiculous that these things were "legal" in the first place. Floating firestarters...sheesh (even the "candle" looks like a piece of charcoal).
on July 11,2012 | 01:54PM
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