Sky lantern

From your perspective:

Is it legal to launch sky lanterns over Lake Washington?

— John K., Seattle, Wash.

While we're unaware of any laws that single out Lake Washington in prohibiting sky lanterns, they've been banned elsewhere in Washington (including the city of Mukilteo and Kittitas County) and are regulated under limited-display fireworks laws in Oregon. We strongly caution against their use. Sky lanterns – those lovely, ethereal paper lanterns sometimes used for weddings, graduations, memorials, and Fourth of July celebrations – are powered by a small candle and released to float into the heavens. In theory, the candle burns for only a short time and goes out, leaving the lantern to drift harmlessly back to earth. Unfortunately, wind or other factors can cause still-burning sky lanterns to land prematurely and set roofs, grass, and other combustibles ablaze. Last summer, a Washington man was cited for second-degree reckless burning when a sky lantern he launched touched off a 500-acre wildfire near Selah. Your PEMCO coverage does not apply to intentional or criminal activity. Even when coverage applies, damages from wildfires can quickly exhaust homeowner and even umbrella policy limits.