People cited for using fire balloon that may have started wildfire

A fire balloon is the suspected cause of a wildfire that started just before midnight Tuesday night on Y-Mountain near Provo, Utah. These dangerous devices that use a small flaming object to inflate and loft a plastic or paper balloon are also called sky lanterns and Chinese lanterns.

Below is an excerpt from an article at ABC 4 Utah, which also has photos of the fire:

A misuse of a Chinese lantern may be to blame for flames spreading along Y-Mountain Tuesday night, officials said.

Crews with Provo Fire Rescue tweeted the fire broke out just before midnight. The Y-Trailhead is closed Wednesday morning as Provo Fire and Forest Service crews mop up the area.

The fire was contained to just a couple of acres, but officials said if needs be a helicopter would perform possible water drops from a helicopter Wednesday morning.

The people who misused the lantern were issued a citation. Officials said the fine starts at $500 but that does not include the cost of fire suppression.

One could argue that any use of a fire balloon is “misuse”. They are illegal in at least 25 states.

This is not the first time one of these things has started fires. Another recent example was in May when a fire balloon ignited a fire in a cell phone tower.

Articles at Wildfire Today tagged “fire balloons”.

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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.

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