Sky lanterns, also known as Chinese lanterns, are popular at festivals, weddings and remembrance ceremonies.

However, sky lanterns pose a significant fire risk, especially when released.

Sky lanterns pose a high fire danger

Sky Lantern are at the mercy of the wind direction once lit, noting if there is a wind change, a lantern may cause a building fire or wildfire.

We strongly recommend you do not light sky lanterns. At the very least, keep any sky lanterns tethered. Do not release them.  

If you're going to light sky lanterns, refer to your local bylaws for the rules in your area. In some areas, sky lanterns may only be used when tethered.

Reducing the risk of fire  

Again, Fire and Emergency New Zealand strongly advises against lighting sky lanterns. If you do want to light sky lanterns, please follow these tips:

  • Tether your sky lantern. Do not release it as it may cause a fire. 
  • Always check the fire season before lighting a sky lantern. Never light a sky lantern during prohibited or restricted fire seasons, as the risk of starting a fire is very high.
  • Avoid lighting sky lanterns when there’s a drought or when conditions are dry.
  • Don’t light or release sky lanterns if it’s windy. Wind could collapse the lantern or blow it to a tree causing it to start a fire.