From now on in Lawrence, that bright light up in the sky had better be the sun, or a maybe a comet or perhaps even a UFO, but definitely not a Chinese lantern.
Lawrence city commissioners at their Tuesday evening meeting unanimously agreed to ban “aerial luminaries” from being used inside the city limits.
“The use of these devices is really becoming a problem across the globe,” Fire Chief Mark Bradford told commissioners. “We fully support the banning of this type of device as a prevention effort.”
The aerial lanterns are like miniature hot-air balloons that usually are fueled by an open flame inside a paper sack-like contraption.
Bradford said there have been reports of the devices rising high enough to interfere with aircraft, and sometimes the flame is not fully extinguished by the time it hits the ground.
Commissioners heard no opposition from the public regarding the ban.
“You’re suggesting having a large paper bag with a candle in it floating around the city is a bad idea?” City Commissioner Aron Cromwell asked Bradford. “I can probably see that.”
The cities of Wichita, Derby, McPherson, Emporia and Kansas City already have banned the luminaries, according to a city memo. Lawrence’s ordinance allows the city’s Municipal Court judge to assess a fine ranging from $1 to $1,000 for violation of the ordinance.