Flying lanterns spark fire safety concerns in Porterville

Officials say some of the lanterns appear to be homemade, making them even more dangerous.

Elisa Navarro Image
Wednesday, November 30, 2022
Flying lanterns spark fire safety concerns in Porterville
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The Porterville Fire Department has responded to several fires connected to flying lanterns.

PORTERVILLE, Calif. (KFSN) -- In the South Valley, an urgent plea from the Porterville Fire Department after flying lanterns have been tied to multiple fires in the area.

The Porterville Fire Department has responded to several fires connected to flying lanterns.

"If it is going up, it's going to come down and land on a roof or backyard or schoolyard. It can cause loss of life," explains Rolinda Baranek, a resident of Porterville.

Baranek says family and friends have spotted flying lanterns at night, causing worry and concern.

"We know of two known cases that have caused property damage, and we have reports of numerous sightings," says Porterville Fire Chief Bryan Cogburn.

Cogburn says some of the lanterns appear to be homemade, making them even more dangerous.

That's why they're asking the community to think twice before setting them on fire.

"Whether it's reckless burning at your home or in a campfire left un-kept or a flying lantern, the threat is always that the fire gets out of control and causes damage to property or loss of life," Cogburn says.

Baranek says it's not worth the risk.

"It just breaks my heart to think someone would set something on fire intentionally because unintentionally it can cause a fire that can be loss of life, and our city has endured the loss of life."