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Sheboygan fire chief wants ban on sky lanterns

SHEBOYGAN, WI (WTAQ) - The fire chief in Sheboygan wants to ban sky lanterns -- paper lanterns that rise in the air, like small hot air balloons.  

They're often released at Asian festivals, and they're becoming more popular in the U.S. at weddings and other events that wish good luck to people.  

Chief Mike Romas sees them as fire hazards, and he's not the only one. There's a statewide ban on sky lanterns in neighboring Illinois -- as well as in Maryland and Hawaii.  

The U.S. Fire Marshals' Association has asked all states to ban them.  

The Sheboygan Press says sky lanterns are getting more popular in that city. They were used at a fundraiser to celebrate the Sheboygan Theater Company's 80th anniversary.  

The fire chief said there was not a specific incident that triggered his proposal. He said he saw a flier about sky lanterns at a hardware store where folks could buy them off the rack and light them up. He said that "in a city, there's just no way."  

Sheboygan's safety committee will consider the proposed sky lantern ban a week from Wednesday.

(Story courtesy of Wheeler News Service)