VIDEO: Billowing fire spoils Yi Peng Lantern Festival in Chiang Mai

Thousands of glistening paper lanterns lighting up the night sky in Chiang Mai, northern Thailand, disappeared into a thick plume of smoke after a foam pagoda went up in flames in the middle of the Yi Peng Lantern Festival celebrations last night.

Billowing smoke rose into the sky after a lantern fell on top of the flammable replica pagoda, made out of plastic foam, causing it to set alight from the top. The fire occurred in the province’s San Pa Tong district.

Luckily, no one was reported to be injured by the fire and authorities acted quickly to put it out.

Netizens commented on the danger that the festival presents…

“There are so many lanterns. All the houses in the neighbourhood are made from wood. If a house burns down, who is responsible for it?”

“Dangerous for households, aeroplanes and the environment.”

“Excellent. This happens every year. I was waiting to see news like this.”

An exodus of foreign and domestic tourists travelled to Chiang Mai to experience the magical atmosphere of the two festivals, which was quickly spoiled by a sea of smoke and plastic fumes.

The eruptive fire is a stern reminder of why the Thai government is so strict about disallowing the release of lanterns in and around Thailand’s airports. Before the festival yesterday, government spokesperson Ratchada Thanadirek made a statement reminding the public that flying lanterns in Thailand’s airspaces is punishable by the death penalty.

The Yi Peng Lantern Festival has garnered criticism over the years as being dangerous, with thousands of people releasing lanterns into the sky at the same time, sometimes getting caught in communication cables and often starting fires.

Chiang Mai NewsThailand News


Leah is a translator and news writer for the Thaiger. Leah studied East Asian Religions and Thai Studies at the University of Leeds and Chiang Mai University. Leah covers crime, politics, environment, human rights, entertainment, travel and culture in Thailand and southeast Asia.

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