Mercedes advertisement features fire balloons

Fire Balloon, Mercedes
Fire Balloon, Mercedes
Fire Balloon — a screen grab from a Mercedes commercial on CBS, November 4, 2012.

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!”

Typos, let us know HERE, and specify which article. Please read the commenting rules before you post a comment.

Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire.

2 thoughts on “Mercedes advertisement features fire balloons”

  1. Saw them when I lived on the Oregon Coast. Wind prevailing inland out of NW. Kids in Neighborhood had
    lit these “Chinese Lanterns” and they drifted over the neighborhood _OF SHAKE (grrr.) roofed houses -including mine..
    I was already sore from the fight to get rid of shakes.
    These kids were the grandkids of the president of the HOA.
    Who summarily dismissed I and the Fire Chief and one of
    his firemen-who all lived there… and got voted down…
    Anyway I went to the home Pryro bros. and said:
    “This is the dry season. we have shake roof houses here.”
    Those “Lanterns” can cause a fire!!” Their Mother, who was aghast at my uppity nature ,Said: “We live here on the coast! it’s too moist! let the boys have a little fun!”
    I said-” You ever hear of the Tillamook burn?” “No.”
    “Isn’t Tillamook up north?” About that time one of the boys
    set off a bottle rocket that landed on the Chief’s roof.
    It went downhill from there…

  2. Have seen alot of these the last few years during the 4th of July here. I’ll bet I saw 30 of them Between Piedmont & Sturgis.. Kinda Surprised their even allowed.


Comments are closed.