Due to extremely dry and drought like conditions, the fire hazard for the Rolla community is severe. Fire Administration continues to enforce an open burning ban within the City of Rolla while also continuing to review procedures and policies regarding fireworks over the July 4th holiday.
Over the last several years, the fire service has observed the increased use of sky lanterns. Sky lanterns are also considered a device designed to carry an open flame (i.e. airborne light, kongming lantern, wish lantern, sky candle, fire balloon, etc.)
With the extreme conditions, effective immediately, by the order of Robert Williams, Fire Chief, the use of sky lanterns and/or similar device will be prohibited in the City Limits of Rolla. The Fire Chief has the authority given to him by the adoption of City Ordinance 14-1 and the International Fire Code 2000.
Sky lanterns are paper globes which are gently lifted into the air by small candles or other heating elements, working on the same principle as much larger hot air balloons. As they lift hundreds and sometimes thousands of feet in the air, sky lanterns often drift miles from where they were initially launched, causing concerns they could start fires without any knowledge by those launching them into the air.
"Basically you're unleashing a flammable torch into the sky with zero control over where it's going to go," said Fire Chief Robert Williams. "They are unpredictable and can cause what was to be a special moment to end in tragedy.”
Although sky lanterns are prohibited at this time, individual citizens will be allowed to display fireworks on July 1st - July 5th from 8 a.m. - midnight.
If you are going to display fireworks, we would ask that you be considerate of your neighbors, have an extinguishing agent accessible (fire extinguisher or water hose), and use extreme caution.
Please feel free to contact Robert Williams, Fire Chief or Ron Smith, Training Officer at (573)364-3989.