TUPPER LAKE - The Tupper Lake Chamber of Commerce had hoped to hold a lantern-lighting ceremony tonight, dedicated to missing teenager Colin Gillis, but that's been called off.
Officials are concerned the 200 "sky lanterns," paper lanterns with lit candles in them that raise them into the sky after they are lit, would be a fire hazard.
State Department of Environmental Conservation spokesman David Winchell said the current conditions - lack of snow, plenty of dead, dry vegetation and unusually high temperatures with no rain expected - make DEC officials concerned about the danger of a fire spreading.
Tupper Lake Events Coordinator Faith Bedore said she instead wants to do a fundraiser with luminaries - candles in bags on the ground - and that the DEC has approved this. She said she hopes no one bears any ill-will toward the DEC since the organization was a huge help throughout the search process.
"They have been so wonderful to the Gillis family," Bedore said.
The money the chamber hopes to raise would be donated to a fund set up with Community Bank to support the Gillis family through their search for their son.
Eighteen-year-old Tupper Laker Colin Gillis went missing last weekend after leaving a party on foot and was last seen at about 1:45 a.m. Sunday, March 11, near the line between Franklin and St. Lawrence counties, where Tupper Lake meets Piercefield.