Has any research been done on the fire risk from the use of candle powered party baloons?

With the increasing use of the toy, candle powered, hot air baloons, sometimes launched in mass at celebrations, my wife and I have wondered about the risk of such devices causing forest fires ( or other fires for that matter). Has any research been done on this?

Hey Peter,

Thank you for your question! You and your wife were right to wonder about the fire hazard sky lanterns and other candle powered balloons can pose. Though traditionally used in celebrations for Asian festivals, their popularity in the United States has grown in recent years, and the concerns of our fire marshalls have grown with it.

One such lantern is blamed for a fire at a British plastic plant last July that caused 9 million dollars in damages, and the National Association of State Fire Marshalls has called for a ban on them.

Here is their own fact sheet on the lanterns, and they're not alone. Multiple states (including the District of Columbia) already have a comprehensive ban on the lanterns in place.

I hope this helps! Given that these are lit objects controlled by the prevailing winds, it's safe to say they pose a major fire hazard for nearby forests when released en masse.



If you have any other questions, feel free to email us at info@mylandplan.org