NIXA, MO - The Nixa Fire Protection District is warning folks, tonight, not to use Chinese Lanterns. Half of the fires they responded to on the 4th of July were from Chinese Lanterns.
"We’ve had some witness accounts and some other people posting on our Facebook of finding them on their roofs and stuff like that," says Whitney Weaver, the assistant chief at Nixa Fire Protection District.
The Independence Day holiday is just another day for the Nixa fire department. And for us at home a fun activity can turn dangerous quick. "Nothing against them. Just as a firefighter, a flaming ball flying around the sky kind of scares us.”
Weaver says this is the first year they’ve recognized the lanterns as starting fires. "I’m guessing with the really hot humid air they’re just not lifting. They’re falling back to the ground way before they’re out of fuel.”
According to Wildfire Today and Weaver, Chinese Lanterns are banned in 30 states due to fires, but Missouri did not make that list. And if a lantern lands in a dry field or wooded area Weaver says it can spread quickly. With the weekend coming up, the NFPD is expecting more firework celebrations.
"We’re not telling you not to use them but just watch the wind and watch the conditions," explains Weaver. "If you got some other fireworks you want to shoot off this weekend that might be a better idea.”
If you do use a lantern and it comes back down and hits the ground Weavers says try to extinguish it the best that you can.