This Florida county has made it illegal to release balloons and sky lanterns outside

Another Florida county has banned the intentional release of balloons and floating sky lanterns outside.

The Flagler County Board of County Commissioners recently approved an amendment to its ordinance making it against the law to intentionally release a ballon or lantern into the air, citing the potential impacts to wildlife and the environment.

"It doesn’t prohibit balloons; it doesn’t prohibit celebrations with balloons, indoors or even outdoors," Flagler County Assistant County Attorney Ronni Moore said in a prepared statement. "It does prohibit the intentional release of a balloon outdoors."

Balloon releases have often been used to mark celebrations or anniversaries, and sky lanterns have become increasingly popular, not only in ways for people to remember a loved one, but events have been created surrounding the release of those lanterns.

According to state law, it is illegal to release 10 or more balloons into the air within a 24-hour period. Exceptions include the release of balloons indoors, balloons used for scientific or weather research, and hot air balloons.

Under state law, punishment could be a $250 fine.

There are bills proposed in the Florida House – HB 91 -- and Senate – SB 1512 – to amend the state law to remove the "10 or more" qualifier, as well as remove the exception for biodegradable balloons.

St. Johns County reportedly became the first county in Florida to ban balloon releases and sky lanterns in 2022.