Qualicum Beach Fire Department Facebook post A Qualicum Beach resident sent this photo in to the Qualicum Beach Fire Department after multiple open-flame floating lanterns were floating into people’s yards on Saturday, Aug. 4.

Open-flame floating lanterns land in B.C. residential neighbourhood

‘It did pose a risk to the community,’ fire chief says

Fire departments are used to reminding people not to fling their would-be fire starters out the window of their car, but now a B.C. fire department has had to warn people not to float them skyward.

Multiple floating lanterns with open flames from the Eaglecrest area of Qualicum Beach on Vancouver Island have left the fire department a “little perplexed,” according to a Facebook post from the Qualicum Beach Fire Department.

The Qualicum Beach Fire Department posted on Facebook Saturday, Aug. 4 about some people lighting lanterns and sending them off potentially landing in people’s yards, roofs and trees.

The lanterns get lift from a burning material suspended at the bottom of the lantern.

Fire chief Darryl Kohse said a woman reported the lanterns to Kohse. He said his understanding is the lanterns were coming from the Eaglecrest neighbourhood.

“I think three or more were lit up and sent up into the sky,” Kohse said. “Obviously, with the extremely dry conditions we’ve had lately it could be problematic if one of the lanterns got hung up in a tree or got blown into somebody’s yard with tall grass. It could have been a bit of a problem for us if that had happened, and fortunately that didn’t happen.”

Since Kohse put the post on Facebook, he said it has had around 40,000 views as of Tuesday morning. It has also been shared more than 450 times.

“Hopefully the people that lit them up might have seen this post and realized it probably wasn’t the best thing to do and maybe (limit) their activities to electric candles or gas appliances.”

Kohse said the lanterns, to some, might have seemed like a good idea at the time.

“But if you consider the potential it has when you set fire to something and put it in the air; I don’t think they were thinking at the time. It did pose a risk to the community.”

Kohse said while it’s already extremely dry outside, it’s supposed to get drier throughout the region this week.

“I know we have some fires in Nanaimo Lakes and in Port Alberni, so we’ve had a lot of fires lately. These fires are getting big very fast and we just want people to be safe with the appliances they’re using.”

RELATED: Wildfire burns near Great Central Lake

RELATED: Evacuation order issued due to wildfire near Nanaimo

Send story tips: lauren.collins@pqbnews.com

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