Fire in the sky illegal

While those lights you see in the night sky might not be of the extraterrestrial variety, they could still pose a serious threat to those back on Earth.

Sky lanterns, a cheap, airborne candle that can float up to two kilometres in the sky, can be found at many dollar stores.  

For those who want to use them in the Okanagan, they’re actually illegal.

“In the City of Kelowna proper, you can’t even have a campfire unless it's propane, gas, or briquette,” said Gayanne Pacholzuk, fire prevention officer with the Kelowna Fire Department. “Basically the bylaw says you can’t start any fires, open air, within the City of Kelowna unless they have a written permit.”

The City of Kamloops takes a similar stance on the use of the lanterns.

“Sky lanterns pose a huge fire hazard when released,’ said Dean Olstad, chief of fire prevention in Kamloops. “Releasing an object and letting it fly away unattended that is technically on fire, is probably not the best idea when we live in a semi-arid desert.”

The Kamloops Fire Department recently responded to a complaint, after someone found a lantern in a forested area above Summit Elementary.

In Kamloops, those found releasing a lantern could face a fine starting at $500.

In Kelowna, a person could face several fines for lighting a lantern, and could be on the hook for the cost of putting out any potential fire a lantern might cause.  

More Kelowna News