Public service announcement: Stop flying sky lanterns! They are extremely dangerous, especially in our arid country during a drought. Keelyn Friesen Roman, a resident on Studhorse Mountain, found an intact sky lantern in the bitterbrush behind her barn over the weekend. The lantern was recently flown as it had not started to deteriorate. This is concerning because these luminarias have been linked to many fires worldwide, including here in Washington.
Sky lanterns, also known as Chinese lanterns, are small hot air balloons made of paper and a small wax wick that holds a flame. Sky lanterns are gaining popularity in celebrations such as weddings, graduations and baby showers as onlookers send these globes skyward. When released in the night sky, especially in mass, people can send their intentions, prayers, hopes and dreams into the heavens and watch their aspirations rise in a beautiful aura of elegance. The sight can be impressive, serene, or full of jubilee.
They claim to be made of biodegradable materials, mostly thin paper and bamboo, so they are marketed as eco-friendly and benign to the environment. However, this is simply not the case. Some are made with small-gauge wire and or metal wicks. They cause litter and can entrap wildlife, but the real danger is the flame.
Sky lanterns are banned in many countries around the world. Here in Washington, from April 15-Oct. 15 it is unlawful to release a sky lantern over brush, forest or field. But technically, sky lanterns are illegal in all counties in Washington state under adoption of the International Fire Code. Some counties have gone further to adopt local ordinances banning the release of these ornamental luminarias.
Now that the pandemic is easing restrictions on gatherings and celebrations, we all need to aware of this looming luminaria. Please do not participate in the lantern lighting and dissuade event coordinators from using them.
This weekend is shaping up to be a scorcher! The best way to beat the heat is to jump in some water. Thankfully, Methow Arts is hosting a boat-in concert on Patterson Lake this Saturday (June 26). With this heat, I bet some concert goers will opt to swim-in!
Methow Arts recently unveiled new place-making panels designed by local artist, Hannah Viano. These steel-cut images evoke and combine prominent themes in Twisp life: community, agriculture, forestry, relaxation and recreation, and the river. The panels were placed in visible locations where the public can easily seem them from afar or up close. Placed on buildings through the downtown corridor, the panels are the first installation in the newly established Creative District. As a Creative District, Downtown Twisp will be eligible for more grants for public arts and programming for promoting its artists, creative industries, cultural history and heritage. Check out the panels as you pass through town on foot, bike or car.