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Will Chinese lanterns go out with a bang?

Happy Bonfire Night! Remember to wear gloves when using sparklers, stand 25 metres away from lit fireworks and now wildlife experts and farmers are asking people to think twice before setting off Chinese lanterns.

The releasing of the paper lanterns into the air has become increasingly popular especially on celebrations and Bonfire night. However, as incidents arise regarding uncontrollable fires as a result of lanterns landing on roofs of houses and in fields, the lanterns have become less popular with wildlife experts and fire-fighters who have been called out over 100 times in the past two years to put out lantern-related fires.

Having partaken in lighting Chinese lanterns, it is easy to see the attraction in releasing the candle lit lights into the night sky but reports on the thin wire frames puncturing a cows oesophagus and an owl dying after becoming trapped in a burnt out lantern shell has made me reconsider lighting them in the future.

Even though there is something sadistic about the celebrating of somebody’s death, Bonfire night should be fun for the whole family and the call from the National Farmers’ Union to ban the lanterns seems a little dramatic.

The concern is that the ‘ooo’s’ and ‘aahhh’s’ won’t just be reserved for the remarkable firework displays, but for the damage that the lanterns cause when they set fire to a house or kill livestock and other animals.

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