Dependable Erection

Monday, December 10, 2007

Luminarias out this year? - see updates below

NBC-17 reported last week that the state's ban on outdoor burning and open fires more than 100 feet from an occupied dwelling was being interpreted to include luminaria, the holiday season display that many neighborhoods in Durham participate in. Informally known as the Night of Lights, luminaria (which are basically votive or tea candles in white paper bags weighted with sand) line streets, walkways and driveways throughout the city.

Luminaria in Duke Park, December 2002, photo by Andrew Preiss

Word is circulating now that Durham Fire Marshall Kenneth Crews has extended the ban to all luminaria within the city. If confirmed, that's a bit of depressing news, although i certainly understand the reasoning. I'll post an update if i can confirm this.

UPDATE: Talking to the Fire Marshall's office is fun. I've left a voicemail, but none of the real people i reached were able to confirm this announcement.

UPDATE II: Councilperson Mike Woodard has posted this announcement to the INC listserv:
An earlier posting indicated that the Fire Marshal called for a ban on luminaries. That is only partially true.

The *County* Fire Marshal asked for a ban without informing the City of his plans.

The *City* Fire Marshal has not yet called for such a ban.

There is a meeting going on now between City Fire Department leadership and County officials.

I'll send word as soon as I have it.

I've also pushed this to the top of the page.

UPDATE III: I've just spoken (1:10 pm) with City Fire Marshall Kenneth Crews, who confirmed to me that the city is prohibiting traditional luminaria (that is, with burning candles) from use this year. Electric or battery driven luminaria are acceptable.

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  • I always thought these looked pretty cool, but I guess it could be construed as wasting water. It also takes a while to freeze one, so you're hobbled by how many molds you have and how fast you can freeze them. But I don't see any reasonable way it could be construed as a fire hazard. :)

    By Blogger Joseph H., at 10:59 AM  

  • Last year, I had to stomp one out on the Club Blvd. side of Northgate Park. I think the wind from the traffic had blown it over.

    I managed to get it out just as the fire dept. rolled up. My wife and just smiled at them and kept walking...

    By Blogger Brian, at 2:54 PM  

  • Those luminarias always seemed dangerous to me... unsupervised fire with a fuel source included, hmm...

    By Anonymous Valerie, at 11:50 PM  

  • The ones I made as a kid were just a paper bag with some sand and a candle. Not much of a fire hazard, unless they were placed directly on very dry grass and were very badly made, which was pretty hard to do.

    By Blogger Durhamfood, at 7:53 AM  

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