Fire Prevention 24-7 – Sky lanterns and Illegal fireworks in Illinois

On May 14, 2013, The Office of the State Fire Marshall banned all uses of sky lanterns by placing them on the “Prohibited Consumer Fireworks” list. The Naperville Fire Department would like to make sure residents are aware of the state-wide ban before the Fourth of July celebration and other warm weather gatherings that might draw use of such lanterns.

Sky Lanterns

Wikimedia Commons Photo

The lanterns, also known as floating lanterns, wishing lanterns or aerial luminaries, are airborne paper lanterns that contain a small candle or fuel cell that heats the air inside and causes it to rise. The lanterns are known to travel up to several miles from where they were originally released.

In popular culture, they are often seen at weddings, dedication ceremonies and other celebrations. Sky lanterns have been known to cause residential and forest fires and pose hazards to aviation and vehicular traffic.

Following the May 14, 2013, ban of sky lanterns by the Office of the State Fire Marshal for the State of Illinois, it is illegal to sell or use these lanterns anywhere in the state.

Before the Fourth of July holiday, the Naperville Fire Department would like to remind residents that fireworks are designed to reach high temperatures, burn, spark, explode and launch – and should not be thought of as toys. They are unpredictable by nature and too dangerous for nonprofessional users. Discharging of fireworks is dangerous and a violation of state law.

Parents who understand that firecrackers, bottle rockets, and roman candles, etc. can cause injuries, (and are illegal under Illinois law) often let their younger kids play with sparklers because they think they are safe.

Here’s something to consider. Matches burn at 325°. Cakes bake at 350°. Wood burns at 575°. Glass melts at 900°. Aluminum melts at 1,200°. And sparklers burn at up to 1,800°! (Source: Illinois Fire Safety Alliance)

Sparklers cause half of the injuries to children under age five, and 10 percent of fireworks-related injuries overall. So even sparklers should be avoided!

On behalf of the Naperville Fire Department, here’s to a safe, injury-free summer!

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About Soraya Mclaughlin

Soraya McLaughlin

Soraya McLaughlin is the Naperville Fire Department Community Education Specialist. Contact her via email at

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