Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Candle sky lanterns may be cause of Sverdlovsk forest fires

Safety officials in the Sverdlovsk region recently reported Chinese-style candle sky lanterns may have been responsible for starting some of the estimated 300 forest fires in the Urals since the start of fire season.

"It is especially dangerous when a torch with open flame inside gets into the crown of a coniferous tree: rich in essential oils needles erupts like a match," the Sverdlovsk region's Department of Forestry in a statement, according to Oblastnaya Gazeta. "And if that happens in windy weather, the fire spread[s] with lightning speed."

As of Feb. 27, sky lanterns have been banned in residential and urban areas situated close to forests in the Sverdlovsk region. Individuals seen using sky lanterns will be fined between $30 and $5,700, depending on whether or not a fire is caused as a result.

Currently, firefighters are working to contain a 20-acre blaze in the Sverdlovsk region's Bilimbaevskom Sukholozhsky woodland area, according to Oblastnaya Gazeta.