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FO

- 11 _P"._ESS (Statement by the Minister for 55

the interior,i.it Peter Nixon)

A. 'ban has been imposed on the use of lighted candles in meteorological paper lanterns suspended •below pilot

'balloons at night to gather upper wind data. a 7

The Minister for the interior,r:Mr Peter Nixon, said

today that the ban would ap ply until further notice to avoid any concern by the public that the candles might be a potential fire hazard

He said the use of wax candles had been eliminated at most Bureau of Meteorology stations by installing tracking radar and using electric lanterns.

The candles had been limited to three meteorological stations in Western Australia, two in , Victoria and one each in the Northern Territory, Queensland,New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory.

Mr Nixon said:"Use of these: candles has been officially restricted since 1952 during proclaimed State and Territorial fire restrictions and prohibited during periods of complete fire 'ban."

If there was any danger at all the stations had used electric lanterns-not wax candles-for night flights.

Mr Nixon said: Precautions have 'been thorough,'but to, avoid any concern the Director of tt.e Bureau of Meteorology, Mr V!. J. Gibbs, has issued instructions for the 'ban to apply until further notice.

....000..,. 24/1/69,