Not a bright idea – fire chief urges people not to light sky lanterns


Firefighters have issued an urgent warning to the public against the risky practice of setting off sky lanterns.

Following reports of sky lanterns being let off in Stroud this week, Chief Fire Officer Mark Preece from Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service, said: “Sky lanterns are a significant hazard that is known to cause preventable fires, which take our valuable time away from other incidents.

“When they are released into the sky they pose a significant risk to property and wildlife and have been linked to several large-scale fires around the UK; this danger is made greater by the dry weather we have had recently. I strongly discourage their use and ask members of the public to look for safer alternative ways to celebrate.”

Sky Lanterns:

  • Sky lanterns are a beautiful sight – but the potential damage they can cause is significant.
  • They use the heat of a naked flame to float. They’re not only a fire hazard but also a danger to livestock, agriculture, camping activities, thatched properties and hazardous material sites.
  • Whilst ignition and launch are mostly in the control of the user, the actual flight path and end destination are not. There’s no guarantee the fuel cell will be completely out and cooled when the lantern lands, so any contact with a flammable surface could start a fire.
  • There’s evidence of them causing fires, wasting police time, being mistaken for distress flares, misleading aircraft and killing livestock.

Outdoor fire safety advice, click HERE

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