Public Education and Awareness

Beautiful, but Dangerous: The Risks of Using Flying Lanterns

Flying or Chinese lantern in the night sky

Flying lanterns (also referred to as sky lanterns or Chinese lanterns) are traditionally used in Asian and Latin American countries during celebratory occasions. These lanterns have become popular in North America and are often used as part of a celebration (e.g. weddings, seasonal holidays, etc.), in which the lanterns are released into the night sky to bring good luck or to add pizzazz to a festivity. Recently, there has been growing concern about these lanterns as they present a fire hazard especially during such dry conditions. Some municipalities have banned them entirely due to this concern.

Flying lanterns are constructed from a paper material that is stretched over a metal or wooden frame. The lantern is propelled by a heat source inside, such as a flame. The flame generates heat, causing the lantern to float into the sky. The lantern stays in flight until the heat source dies out, which allows the lantern to float back down to the ground. These lanterns can stay in flight for as long as 20 minutes, allowing them to travel very long distances. Many retail outlets sell lanterns with a flame resistant outer covering; however, the lanterns still pose a risk as they could land while still lit. Further, the material that they are constructed from could become very hot or be flammable if they are not constructed from flame resistant materials. Given the dry summer season that we have been having in many parts of Ontario and Canada, a hot or flammable lantern touching down on dry vegetation or flammable materials has the potential to cause a fire.

The North Kawartha Emergency Services is asking residents to refrain from the use and purchase of flying lanterns because of the fire and safety concern they present. If you have any questions or concerns regarding flying lanterns, please contact Fire Chief Jesse Lambe at (705)-656-4445, ext. 221.    

Please see the attached Communique from the Office of the Fire Marshal:
2012-13 and 2009-07.

Fire Extinguishers


To understand how to properly choose and use a fire extinguisher, you must first understand that there are different types of fires, and no single type of fire extinguisher is suitable for all fires.

Fires are divided into four different classes, which are:

Types of Fires
Class TypeDescription
graphics1 Class "A" Fires Ordinary combustibles such as wood, cloth, paper, rubber, etc. The symbol for this class is a green triangle.
graphics2 Class "B" Fires Flammable or combustible liquids, flammable gasses, grease, oil and similar material. The symbol for this class is a red square. 
graphics3 Class "C" Fires A class 'C' fire is any fire which involves live electrical equipment. Once the electricity has been shut off, the fire becomes the class of whatever material is burning. The symbol for this class is a blue circle.
graphics4  Class "D" Fires Certain combustible metals such as sodium, magnesium, potassium, etc. You should not have to worry too much about this type of fire in your home. The symbol for this class is a yellow star.

More fire extinguisher safety tips

Homes and Cottages in the wilderness setting

Living and vacationing in beautiful cottage country as we do here in North Kawartha it is important to understand how to live and play in a wilderness setting so that we don't have horrible tragedies with forest fires. For information on being fire smart visit:

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