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Time to Ban Chinese Lanterns in Michigan? [POLL]

Chinese People Mark 2007 Mid-autumn Festival
China Photos, Getty Images

Mackinac Island is one of Michigan’s premiere vacation spots and one of the country’s most unique getaway locations. The Mackinac Island city council recently¬†created an ordinance banning Chinese lanterns to protect the buildings and structures on the island.

Is it time for the rest of Michigan to do the same and ban Chinese lanterns?

The debate over fireworks in Michigan is nothing new. It’s a debate which has grown since Michigan decided to allow airborne fireworks in 2011. For many people the issue is with the noise made by fireworks, but safety and the potential for fires are also major concerns. Some are hoping to get the current law changed and return to the pre-2011 ban.

The debate surrounding the use of Chinese lanterns is similar. Noise is not an issue, but safety is. Chinese lanterns have the potential to travel far and land in a dry or dangerous place while carrying an open flame. The Mackinac Island Fire Department issued a warning about Chinese lanterns after a close call at the Grand Hotel.

Chinese lanterns can be just as dangerous as fireworks. The bigger problem for each begins once it leaves the property of whomever is lighting it. Fireworks in small neighborhoods routinely endanger neighboring homes and businesses. Chinese lanterns usually travel further and put a greater area at risk. Both leave debris behind in addition to the fire danger.

If the debris and fire risk did not travel past the property of the person lighting the Chinese lantern or firework there wouldn’t really be an issue, but that is rarely the case especially with Chinese lanterns. One would have to own many acres to be assured that a Chinese lantern would land on their own property.

Grand Rapids has seen its fair share of Chinese lanterns with its own massive launching at ArtPrize 2012.

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