Oregon bans frequent UFO (and potential fire hazard) effective January 1

File Photo - Muslim women take part in an attempt to break a world record for the most sky lanterns flown simultaneously in Indonesia.(AP Photo/Dita Alang)

EUGENE, Ore. - UFO?!


That's a violation of Oregon airspace punishable by up to a $2,000 fine, effective New Year's Day.

"As of January 1, 2017, sky lanterns (also known as aerial luminaries, Chinese lanterns, mini hot air balloons, UFO balloons, wish lanterns, etc.) are illegal to release into Oregon airspace," the office of the state fire marshal said Tuesday in a press release.

Aloft, sky lanterns drift and change direction. Lights dance in the sky. People call TV stations to report UFO sightings.

But fooling folks into thinking they are seeing things isn't the impetus behind the ban.

Fire flying in the sky - in tinder dry Oregon?

"Although they are pretty, sky lanterns are uncontrolled, open-flamed devices that pose an extreme fire hazard to people, property, and the environment" said Oregon Chief Deputy State Fire Marshal Mariana Ruiz-Temple.

"Once released you have no control over where they may land. They could end up on someone's rooftop, in a tree, or a pile of debris and cause an unwanted fire."

The fire marshal defined the device thus:

A sky lantern is a paper sack suspended over a flame, usually from a small candle or other lit device. The hot air from the flame causes the balloon to rise into the air and be carried off by the wind.
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