Don’t let your lantern plans go up in smoke

Have your say

People in South Yorkshire looking forward to welcoming in the Chinese New Year are being urged not to ‘Horse’ around with sky lanterns.

Families planning to celebrate the beginning of the Year of the Horse are encouraged to think hard about where and when they use the lanterns to prevent unnecessary emergencies.

National safety charity the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents said wind conditions and location play a crucial part in preventing lanterns from sparking an unnecessary fire.

Sheila Merrill, RoSPA’s public health adviser, said: “We want people to enjoy Chinese New Year, but also remember there are actually limited conditions and locations when sky lanterns should be used.

“If families are using sky lanterns, we recommend checking the weather forecast as they should not be launched if the wind speed is 5mph or more, and always choose the location wisely.

“We urge people not to use sky lanterns near built-up areas, roads, crops, hay bales, trees, power lines, or airports.”

Although traditionally released into the sky during Chinese New Year, the use of lanterns has become popular all year round. And the lanterns have been blamed for causing several fires in recent years, including a huge blaze at a recycling plant in the West Midlands last year, when 100,000 tons of recycled plastic and paper went up in smoke.

Chinese lanterns are made from thin fire retardant paper but contain a small candle or fuel cell, which when lit, heats the air and sends them rising into the air.

Further safety advice on Chinese lanterns can be found on the RoSPA website,