Sky Lanterns fireworks illegal in Wichita, officials say

WICHITA — A fireworks product made popular by recent films is illegal in the city of Wichita, authorities said today.

The devices, known as Sky Lanterns, are designed to be lit while being held by hand and then released to float into the sky.

Any fireworks that shoot sparks or rise more than 6 feet into the air are banned in the city limits, Fire Marshal Brad Crisp said. The Sky Lanterns were removed from a couple of fireworks tents on Monday, the first day fireworks could be sold in the city.

Crisp said the product was delivered to the tents by mistake, and no citations were issued.

The fire risk posed by the Sky Lanterns is particularly high this year, Crisp said, because area vegetation is high and strong south winds could carry the lanterns quite a distance before they fall to the ground.

Fire officials also urged residents not to set off fireworks in city parks or city streets.

It is forbidden in parks, but not in the street. However, setting fireworks off in the street poses an obvious safety hazard, Crisp said.

Residents should set the fireworks off on their paved driveway, he said, and then clean up the mess. That includes hosing down or soaking in a water bucket spent fireworks.

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