Please take care with sky lanterns and fireworks

Sat 30 Dec, 2017

Firefighters are urging people to take extra care if they are considering using sky lanterns or fireworks as part of their New Year celebrations.

Sky lanterns – also known as flying lanterns and Chinese lanterns – are often made of paper, wire and bamboo and contain a lit candle. They can rise to more than 1,000 feet, fly for up to 20 minutes and float for miles before landing.

Richard Priest, head of Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service’s community safety team, said: “You can’t control the direction they take or where they will land.

“There is no guarantee that the fuel source will be fully extinguished and cooled when the lantern lands, and that’s a real fire hazard.”

He said unsuitable locations for sky lanterns included areas near telephone and power lines, areas near standing crops, anywhere near buildings with thatched roofs, areas of dense woodland and areas of heath or bracken.

The wire in some varieties of lantern can kill or injure animals, damage farm machinery or end up in animal feed.

In 2011, a stray sky lantern set fire to a car in Chalfont St Giles after landing next to it and then being blown underneath it.

Sky lanterns have also tied up a great deal of emergency service time over the years because they are sometimes mistaken for UFOs or distress flares.

If you are planning to use fireworks, always follow the Firework Code, which is available in the following languages:

English | Bengali | Chinese (Simplified) | Chinese (Traditional) Gujarati | Hindi Punjabi Urdu