By Miriam Raftery
Photo: burnt remnants of sky lantern found in Alpine, courtesy 10 News
January 13, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – An East County Magazine investigation back in 2012 led to the State Fire Marshal to issue a bulletin advising that sky lanterns are illegal—and dangerous. Our story led to removal of sky lanterns from local Walmart shelves.
But not everyone is aware of the ban, so use of sky lanterns, which are popular for celebrations in some cultures, continues. The devices include one or more candles sent aloft beneath an open cloth, much like a hot air balloon, posing severe fire hazards.
ECM news partner 10 News reports that on Saturday, an Alpine family on Japatul Valley Road awoke to find their horses terrified and one horse injured. In dry brush nearby, they found remnants of a sky lantern with birthday candles attached to popsicle sticks.
“Thank God it didn't start a fire, but it could have," Lucy Olivier told 10 News.