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Big Island officials warn of aerial lanterns

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Big Island officials are issuing warnings about a small hot-air balloon novelty that can carry a lighted flame for miles and poses a serious fire danger.

Hawaii County Fire Chief Darryl Oliveira said Tuesday the "Sky Lantern," also known as the Flying or Hawaii Lantern, drifts with air currents until its fuel is depleted.

He told West Hawaii Today that the aerial lantern’s uncontrolled and unpredictable flight path can result in it landing on buildings, trees, power lines and other areas and potentially cause a fire.

Officials have contacted retailers about removing the product from shelves. They say two retailers have since agreed to do so.

Fire officials also are asking the public to refrain from using the lanterns.

 

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