Is RiSE Lantern Festival October 18th Safe

Image of sky lantern at Rise Festival

Fall Festival Fun or Dangerous Fire and Environmental Hazard?

Organizers are planning a RiSE Lantern Festival in the Mojave desert some 20 miles outside of Las Vegas, Nevada.  This is similar to the popular festival run in Thailand each year.  It will feature the release of hundreds of sky lanterns into the desert sky on October 18th, 2014.  Their websites says “RiSE elevates hope, ignites dreams, and creates memories you will never forget”.  The images are spectacular.

Tickets run from $50 to $109.  The festival includes shuttle service from and to the Gold Strike Casino on the Las Vegas Strip.  Each participant receives two sky lanterns and one ground torch to personalize and light your lanterns.  Featured festival music runs for about 75 minutes beginning at 6:15 pm.  The lantern launches are scheduled for about 75 minutes beginning at 7:30 pm.  Invite your friends as each lantern takes 2-3 people to launch. 

Watch this video to get a feeling for the beauty of these lanterns and this festival.

Such a Beautiful Event and Yet So Potentially Destructive

I can only imagine the spiritual journey the organizers talk about with their hopes, dreams, and goals.  I like many other people have some concerns.  Now I will give the organizers credit for making this as safe as possible.  After all it is held 20 miles deep in the desert at a secluded spot only accessible by shuttle service.  The lanterns are 100% biodegradable.  They have made the commitment to clean up any lanterns and trash within the event area.  They are only allowing their own special sky lanterns to be used.  Only food and drink items sold by their vendors are allowed in the event.  So they have certainly taken much of the environmental risk out of the equation.

Now there are people who will disagree with any large event and the impact on the desert environment. 

Sky lanterns have been banned in 12 states and 6 countries.  Why?

Fire Hazard?

The lanterns are very lightweight and rise when heat especially fire is added.  When released no one knows when or where they will land.  So I guess litter is of some concern.  However this year is especially dangerous given the extended drought and dry conditions in the western states especially California.  We have thousands of firefighters in California risking their lives today to put out fires already burning.  Do we really need to introduce a fire element into the air? 

A sky lantern or Chinese lantern will stay aloft from 10 minutes to 2 hours.  Who knows what distance they can travel in two hours.  While the Mojave desert is probably a safe landing area, most would agree that anywhere there are housing structures or woods it can become a real hazard.

I would assume they have insurance.  Certainly any type of open flame when launching these devices make them dangerous for personal burns.  It is a risk that people would probably take given the beauty in the event. 

However there is always the possibility of a real catastrophe taking place. Do we really need more wildfires burning thousands of acres and hundreds of homes? 

What Do You Think?

Let me know your thoughts.  I like festivals and this one seems like it will be a wonderful event.  There is always a risk of an accident in any large crowd.  We have seen fires, structure collapses, people trampled, ridiculous traffic, and who know how many other unexpected occurrences happen at festivals.  We try to control risk and improve safety.  We rarely close events down that pose a low level risk of occurrence.  Would you go or support others right to hold and attend such an event?

Funtober continues with Day 78 on our Fun Things To Do As We Countdown To Halloween blog series.  Be Safe.  Find lots more Fall Festival at Funtober.

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