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Sky lantern warning after nature reserve fire in Dorset

A 40-metre wide fire was started by a sky lantern in Dorset, prompting fire chiefs to give a timely warning of the dangers.

Alice   Singleton

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Alice   Singleton
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Sky lanterns pose a major risk to the environment and livestock
Sky lanterns pose a major risk to the environment and livestock

A fire at Hartland Moor nature reserve near Wareham on Sunday (April 24) has sparked a reminder about the dangers of sky lanterns.

 

Fire crews were called to the nature reserve on Sunday evening where they extinguished the fire which affected a 40-metre area.

 

It is believed the fire started after a sky lantern landed on the gorse in the reserve.

 

Hazard

 

Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service area manager, Craig Baker said using sky lanterns is basically throwing a naked flame in to the sky with no control over where it will land.

 

He said: "There is also no guarantee that the fuel source will be full extinguished and cooled when the lantern eventually descents, and that presents a real fire hazard."

 

Each year thousands of sky lanterns, otherwise known as ‘Chinese lanterns’ are released at various events and celebrations across the country.

 

Campaign

 

Their remnants are often found in farmers’ fields where the bamboo and metal components can be easily ingested by livestock or baled in hay and silage.

 

Farmers Guardian’s ’Say No to Sky Lanterns’ campaign, launched in 2013, calls for a country-wide ban on the sale and use of the deadly products.

 


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How to sky lanterns cause harm to animals and the countryside?

  • Livestock can be injured or killed from eating lantern parts accidentally chopped into animal feed during harvest, or getting caught in wire frames which have landed in fields.
  • Sharp parts they can tear and puncture an animal’s throat or stomach causing internal bleeding or death.
  • Animals can become entangled in fallen lantern frames and suffer from injury and stress struggling to get free, or starve to death.
  • Marine life is endangered by lanterns falling into the sea.
  • The remnants fall to the ground and become litter.
  • The lanterns, powered by an open flame, also pose a major fire risk.
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