While too late to make a difference this year a new laws about to take effect house Bill 2113 the schedule be signed by Gov. Neil Abercrombie Tuesday this week July 10 in Honolulu. If signed into law the bill would take effect immediately in banning sky lanterns and aerial luminaries.
WHAT: Governor Abercrombie is scheduled to sign HB2113 bill into law. HB2113 imposes a total ban on aerial luminaries, including the ignition, possession, sale or use. State Representative Ryan Yamane, introducer of House Bill 2113, will bring a sky lantern to the bill signing to show the public what the device looks like before it is lit. Upon signing, the ban takes effect immediately.
WHEN: Tuesday, July 10, 2012, 10:30 a.m.
WHERE: Governor’s Office, Executive Chamber, State Capitol, 5th floor
WHY: Over the past year, fire departments noticed an increased usage of sky lanterns, which are paper lanterns with an open flame, small candle that heats the air inside the lantern causing the lantern to rise for several hundred feet and remain airborne until heat expires.
- These are a potential hazard to our community.
- They are open-flame, uncontrolled flying objects that can land on combustible vegetation, causing brush fires, especially in dry areas like Leeward Oahu.
- They can float on top of your roof or land on your roof, causing a rooftop fire of your house.
- They can fly into power lines, telephone lines, power plant equipment, and transformers, causing damage and power outages.
- These open-flamed devices can also interfere with aircraft flight patterns.
According to tests conducted by the Hawaii Fire Department:
- Sky lanterns remain airborne between 4 minutes 37 seconds to 4 minutes 45 seconds.
- Sky lanterns reach an estimated altitude of 400 -500 feet (a height of which local air traffic may fly in certain areas of the State as permitted by the FAA).
- Sky lanterns travel an estimate lateral distance of 1025 feet and 1150 feet, depending on wind speed and wind direction.
- A Sky lanterns’ active burning continues while it descends toward the ground. When a sky lantern reaches the ground, it generates sufficient heat to ignite vegetation or any other materials (roof tops, grass land, etc.)
“This new law will save lives, property and protect our aina,” said Rep. Yamane. “I applaud the governor enacting this law and all the firefighters throughout our state for their commitment to the health and safety of our community. Even though these lanterns look beautiful in the sky, they pose a serious and dangerous threat of fire.”
“The State Fire Council believes the uncontrolled release of aerial luminaries, or sky lanterns pose a potential danger to life and property,” said Fire Chief Ken Silva, Honolulu Fire Department. “These devices are paper lanterns containing a small candle or other fuel source that heats air inside the lantern, thus causing the lantern to rise several hundred feet and remain airborne until the heat source diminishes, at which time the lantern descends. This uncontrolled, open-flame device can land on combustible vegetation, buildings, or power lines and interfere with aircraft flight patterns.”
Supporters of the bill:
- State Fire Council
- Honolulu Police Department
- Fire Department of the County of Hawaii
- Kauai Fire Department
- Department of Fire and Public Safety of the County of Maui
- Honolulu Police Department
- Maui Wildfire Coordinating Group
- Division of Forestry and Wildlife of DLNR
- Hawaiian Electric Company
- Hawaii Fire Chiefs Association