Chinese lanterns are like miniature hot-air balloons that usually are fueled by an open flame inside a paper sack-like material often lit around the 4th of July. After lighting, it floats away. Once it reaches the air currents, the wind determines how long it remains airborne essentially becoming an unattended fire.
There is no way to know where it will land, and sometimes the flame is not fully extinguished when it reaches the ground or floats into a tree possibly resulting in an uncontrolled fire.
"On July 1, 2013 the 'largest fire ever' in the West Midlands of England, involving 100,000 tons of recycling material, was started by a sky lantern which landed at a plastics recycling plant in Smethwick. Images of the lantern starting the fire were captured on CCTV." - Information from Wikipedia.
On the 4th of July I have seen Chinese lanterns float over my house on the east side and continue on over the forest on Millie Hill until they were out of sight. I believe this is a fire hazard and extremely dangerous to the residents of the east and north side of Iron Mountain. If Millie Hill were to go up in flames, many residents would lose their homes and possibly their lives.
Their only defense: they look pretty.