On a breezy June day in Yakima many people fly kites. They are a lot of fun at the end of a string, but it also means all eyes need to be focused on safety when those colorful miracles are aloft.

Kite flying, a hobby dating back long before power lines, can be dangerous or even fatal if the kite contacts an energized line. That is because electrical currents always seek the quickest route to the ground. A kite string that is wet, dirty, or contains metal or any other conductive material can detour the electricity from the power line to the ground using the string, and the kite flier, as conductors.

Keep these safety tips in mind next time you pull out the kites:

*     Fly kites only in open areas, away from power poles, overhead power lines, substations, trees and other obstacles.

*     Use only cotton, linen or nylon string, never metal, wire or wire-reinforced string. Wet string is also dangerous.

*     Only fly kites in dry weather. Never fly a kite during an electrical storm.

*     If a kite is caught in a tree, check to make certain there aren't any power lines near the tree before climbing it.

*     If a kite does get caught in overhead power lines, release the string at once. Do not pull the string or climb the power pole to retrieve the kite.

*     NEVER attempt to retrieve a kite caught in a power line or that falls into a substation. Instead, call Pacific Power, toll-free 1-888-221-7070.