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Kite fighting is dangerous and can lead to ban, Fairfax County Park Authority warns

The Fairfax County Park Authority is asking people to stop fighting with kites.

Last week, the park authority issued a warning about the dangers and harm caused by kite fighting, which is prohibited at county parks.

Kite fighting is an old tradition that has seen its popularity rise in recent years, partly due to the book and movie “The Kite Runner.” It’s particularly practiced in South America and a number of Asian countries, including India, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Korea, and Vietnam. The main objective is to cut an opponent’s kite line before they cut yours.

But kite fighting can also be dangerous, since the already-sharp strings are sometimes coated with pieces of glass mixed with glue. Strings prepared this way can cause severe injury or, even, death. Earlier this year, sharp strings killed three children at a festival in India.

The FCPA says visitors could be banned from county parks if they repeatedly violate the kite fighting prohibition.

“The Fairfax County Park Authority has prohibited kite fighting at Fairfax County Parks, citing increasing reports of harm to wildlife, vegetation, maintenance equipment and the inherent risks to public safety,” the agency said in a press release. “Individuals observed to be kite fighting will be asked to stop. Individuals who refuse or repeatedly violate this rule may potentially be banned from park use.”

FCPA spokesperson Ben Boxer told FFXnow that kite fighting has been prohibited in county parks for “well over a year.”

However, the authority decided to issue a warning after getting complaints from community members and reports from volunteers and maintenance crews who are consistently “removing kite string/wire and debris from trees, trails and from our maintenance equipment.”

The county has received a dozen complaints from the community and volunteers in 2023, Boxer said. It also has led to increased maintenance costs with strings getting caught in mowers and other equipment.

“We’ve begun to encounter these hazards at more of our parks within the last 12 months, so this is not an isolated issue,” he said, noting that the issue isn’t confined to a specific park or area of the county.

The park authority has “seen evidence of kite fighting and received concerns from several locations,” Boxer told FFXnow.

Beyond presenting a potential danger to humans, the sharp lines can get caught on treetops and low-lying brush or end up in the water, which can be fatal to wildlife.

“Often, the kite debris and attached string are not recovered and disposed of, leaving a potentially near-invisible hazard for animals and people,” the park authority said. “Park patrons, wildlife managers and Park Authority staff are regularly documenting potential harm to birds, reptiles and other wildlife caught in kite line.”

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