Think twice before using Chinese lanterns, is the warning from Humberside Fire and Rescue Service ahead of tomorrow’s Chinese New Year celebrations.
The plea from the fire service is supported by the Chief Fire Officers’ Association (CFOA) and fire and rescue services from across the country, due to the dangers sky lanterns can pose.
Allen Cunningham at Humberside Fire and Rescue said: “Chinese lanterns do look pretty but the damage they can cause can have devastating effects. They pose a real fire risk because there is no way of knowing where they will land. They can start fires which go undetected until serious damage has been caused, particularly in rural areas. They can seriously damage property and cause environmental damage, destroying animal habitats and, in some cases, can kill or seriously injure livestock.”
Paper lanterns consist of a candle or fuel cell filled with paraffin wax suspended inside a frame of wire or bamboo. When lit, they float upwards and drift away, landing when the fuel has run out. They can reach up to 1,000m in height and drift for several miles in the breeze. But there is no control over where they land.
Humberside Fire and Rescue Service attended six incidents last year that were caused by sky lanterns “This is not a particularly high number, but we have a responsibility to inform people of the dangers these lanterns pose and I urge people to consider the risks before taking the decision to use them,” Allen advised.