The Hoquiam Police Department is issuing a warning to residents who may consider lighting hot air lanterns.

In a post, the department states that this week someone within the city lit a homemade lantern that could have caused serious damage. 

They say that a lantern landed in the middle of a street and continued to burn while on the ground.

While the lantern burned, the Hoquiam Fire Department happened to be nearby on their way to the station and were able to extinguished the small fire before it could spread to nearby buildings.

The department said that the incident did not cause structure damage, but had it landed on a building it could have ignited a larger fire.

Sky lanterns, homemade or otherwise, are illegal in Hoquiam and in many areas throughout the state.

In March 2018 the Hoquiam City Council codified the explicit ban of sky lanterns within city limits following multiple complaints from residents and calls to the Hoquiam Fire Department about their use.

A new chapter in the Hoquiam Municipal code would clarify state rules that adopt the International Fire Code to ban the use of any;

“unmanned device with a fuel source that incorporates an open flame in order to make the device airborne”.

State RCW prohibits releasing a sky lantern “on or over any forest, brush, range, or grain areas” in the same section that bans discarding a cigarette or discharging  incendiary ammunition.

Within the 2015 International Fire Code, it states; 

“A person shall not release or cause to be released an untethered sky lantern”.

The National Association of Fire Marshals has attempted a nationwide ban on the firework, and at least 30 states have imposed all or partial bans on them.

This includes Washington.

Many cities have brought additional legislation that prohibit the device.

The ordinance in Hoquiam removed the portion that states “untethered” and disallow all use.

Any person found in violation of the ordinance would be charged with a misdemeanor.