A sky lantern landed in the wrong yard over the weekend – that of York Beach Fire Chief David Bridges.

Bridges brought the lantern into the fire station, grateful that it didn’t start a brush fire. His backyard is located in a heavily wooded area.

The incident Sunday led to a warning posted on the York Beach Fire and Rescue department’s Facebook page, which reminded the department’s Facebook followers that sky lanterns are illegal in Maine and extremely dangerous, especially with the state’s wildfire conditions at a dangerous level.

The wildfire danger for southern and coastal Maine on Monday was listed as high.

Sky lanterns, which are also known as Chinese lanterns, are made from thin paper stretched on a frame. A candle or other fuel source is held in a holder inside the frame. The burning fuel provides heat and lifts the lantern into the sky.

The lanterns are often used for weddings or memorials. But they can blow wherever the wind takes them and can cause a fire if they land on something that is combustible.

The Fire Department’s Facebook page quotes the State Fire Marshal’s Office and state statute as saying that sky lanterns are illegal.

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