Sky lanterns: hard on palapas. Sky lanterns: hard on palapas.

Authorities to enforce ban on sky lanterns

Acapulco and Zihuatanejo have banned them because of fire danger

The release of sky lanterns, a small hot-air balloon made of paper and fueled by a small fire, has been banned in two Guerrero municipalities because of the fire danger they present, and authorities plan to enforce the law over Christmas.

The prohibition applies to the resort municipalities of Acapulco and Zihuatanejo where the release of sky lanterns last year caused fires in at least two palapas.

Police and military personnel have been instructed to confiscate the lanterns, known in Mexico as globos de cantoya.

Hoteliers, restaurateurs and condominium managers have been informed about the ban and told that they are not alowed to distribute the lanterns to their guests or customers.

In Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo, the director of the local Environment and Natural Resources office has announced that anyone found with a sky lantern will be fined 2,000 pesos (slightly over US $100).

The fine is the most recent update to the ban already established in the municipality, said Gustavo Adolfo Gurrión Maldonado, and is intended to further raise awareness among residents and tourists and avoid more accidents.

To further restrain the sale of sky lanterns, the municipality started a special operation last week on all its beaches. Authorities will patrol and monitor beaches and other public spaces to enforce the law.

State Civil Protection chief Marco Cesar Mayares Salvador also recommended that the public avoid purchasing fireworks and other explosives and prevent children from playing with them. Many minors have been injured in the past.

Source: Milenio (sp), El Sol de Acapulco (sp)

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