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Warning given over Chinese lanterns

Date: 25th April, 2016

Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service has issued a safety reminder about the use of Chinese lanterns.

A heath fire at Hartland Moor nature reserve near Wareham on Sunday evening (24 April) was started by a lantern landing on the gorse.

Crews from Wareham and Swanage extinguished the fire, which affected a 40 metre area, using one hose reel jet and beaters.

Chinese lanterns, also known as wish or flying lanterns, are generally made from paper, supported by a wire frame that incorporates a holder at the base for a solid fuel heat source.

Area Manager Craig Baker said: “With Chinese lanterns, you’re basically throwing a naked flame into the sky with no control over the direction it will take or where it will land – in addition, there is no guarantee that the fuel source will be fully extinguished and cooled when the lantern eventually descends, and that presents a real fire hazard.”

He added: “Chinese lanterns are very attractive when they’re in the sky, and we fully understand why they are so popular. We would just urge people to think very carefully about where they will be released.”

Locations that should be considered unsuitable for flying lanterns include areas with standing crops, anywhere near buildings with thatched roofs, areas of dense woodland and areas of heath or bracken, especially in dry conditions. Consideration should also be given to the proximity to major roads or airfields.

Additional safety advice can be found at www.dwfire.org.uk/chinese-lanterns

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