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Sky lantern starts brush fire

Investigators in San Luis Obispo County say a brushfire in the Pirates Cove area near Avila Beach was caused by a so-called sky lantern.

The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection says Monday’s fire was held to a quarter-acre.

Sky lanterns are essentially miniature hot air balloons that use a candle or fuel cell to heat the air inside the lantern so that it will fly.

This week’s fire occurred in the same area where last summer a sky lantern caused a fire that destroyed a radio antenna and cell phone towers. The county Board of Supervisors recently passed an ordinance prohibiting lighting and launching of sky lanterns.

Sky lanterns are also known as Chinese lanterns and are sometimes marketed for use in parties and celebrations.

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