Clinica Sierra Vista WIC

 It is easy to understand why sky lanterns have become so popular at outdoor events such as weddings, festivals, and other evening celebrations – they  are beautiful airborne globes of light that float up, up and out of sight, bringing oohs and ahs from onlookers. But these high-flying wonders of aerodynamics also have to come down, sometimes with disastrous results.

Sky lanterns are traditionally found in Asian cultures, and are usually made from oiled rice paper on a bamboo frame. Each lantern contains a tea light candle or other type of fuel cell that when lit, heats the air inside the lantern, lowering its density and causing it to rise up and float. Sky lanterns remain airborne only as long as their flames stay lit. When they sink back to Earth, sometimes miles from their point of release, they’ve been known to start unintended fires and have the potential to burn people upon landing, making them a serious fire and life safety hazard. 

It has been determined by the Bakersfield Fire Department and the California State Fire Marshal that sky lanterns pose health and safety concerns for the citizens in our community. While the State Fire Marshal has determined that this product does not fall within the definition of a firework (HSC §12511) or a pyrotechnic device (HSC §12526), several pieces of regulation and statute do exist that will assist the fire service in regulating the use of this product.

For additional information regarding sky lanterns and the statutes that regulate them, please visit the California State Fire Marshal website at For additional safety tips from the Bakersfield FIRE Department, please visit

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