I was watching the Steelers-Giants game today and a Mercedes advertisement came on that got my attention. Not because of the car, but because it showed fire balloons being released. These devices, sometimes called sky lanterns, use burning material such as rubbing alcohol or a candle to heat the air in a bag made of tissue paper or very thin plastic. The heated air in the bag makes the device lighter than air causing it to rise into the sky, staying aloft for 10 minutes to 2 hours.
They can be beautiful to watch, but have been known to start fires if the bag catches fire, breaks apart, or if the wind blows the device into the ground.
It is surprising that Mercedes would promote the use of fire balloons or sky lanterns. Apparently they are not worried about people imitating the commercial or the potential liability. “But officer, I saw it on a Mercedes commercial and it looked like fun. Who KNEW it could burn down a neighborhood!”