After hearing from concerned citizens, the city is warning people that the use of flying lanterns, or sky lanterns, is illegal in Alberta.
 
Residents have contacted the city at least a couple times this spring to report sightings of the banned floating lights.
 
The paper lanterns contravene the Alberta fire code, which states that devices with open flames must be in noncombustible containers.
 
Fort Saskatchewan fire chief Shawn McKerry said that given current dry conditions and the recent grass fires in the area, it’s particularly important for people to understand that the lanterns are hazardous.

“If we had a flying lantern land or take off into a tree or knocked over into a grass area, it would cause a wildland fire very quickly. And then that puts a lot of stress on the first responders and emergency services in that area," McKerry said.
 
The lanterns can float long distances and land unpredictably. In June 2013, a stray paper lantern caused millions of dollars in damages after igniting materials at a UK paper recycling plant.
 
The sale of flying lanterns is also illegal in Alberta. McKerry said that people may be buying the lanterns online. He added that anyone who spots a flying lantern in the area or knows of people selling the lanterns should contact the fire department to have the problem resolved.

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