Thin paper sky lanterns, lit from inside by candles that send them floating aloft, have been popular for centuries at Asian festivals, but U.S. fire officials want them banned.
The National Association of State Fire Marshals calls them uncontrolled fire hazards, because the wind decides where to deposit the lanterns, said association president and New Hampshire Fire Marshal Bill Degnan.
Lanterns have ended up in trees and on tents at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, which draws tens of thousands of fans to two NASCAR races each year, he said. A fire blamed on a sky lantern at a plastic recycling plant in Britain in July caused $9 million in damage.
"You have no control over where it lands," he said.