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Charity Lanterns fuelling increase in fire risk says CLA


The CLA and other concerned groups are asking charities to consider the potential consequences before using Chinese lanterns in their fundraising activities.

The Association says it has noticed a sharp increase in the lanterns by charities and good causes, and wants to halt the trend before a major incident occurs.

Angus Collingwood-Cameron, Director CLA North East said: Any risk assessment will show you that flying uncontrolled naked flames across our countryside, towns and cities is foolhardy and a potentially lethal fire risk.

I am loath to speak out against any charity, but why are some using Chinese Lanterns as part of their campaigns? One excuse is that the lanterns used are environmentally-sound 100 percent biodegradable, with no odours, additives or chemicals, and made from sustainable sources.

This misses the point. It does not mean lanterns cannot start a fire. If I throw burning litter onto someone elses property I could quite rightly be arrested, yet many, otherwise responsible, people are happily releasing these lanterns with no idea where or when they may land, and with what effect.

There are many memorable and exciting ways of raising funds, but please dont let this become acceptable practice.

Brian Hesler, Chief Fire Officer for Northumberland and Chairman of the England and Wales Wildfire Forum added:

The increasing popularity of using these lanterns as a method of marking an occasion should be a concern to everyone.

As they fall back to the ground, they do not discriminate between land or property.  As more people release more lanterns, the risk of fire from them increases to significantly higher levels, and their ultimate impact on high fire risk environments is unknown.  This includes rural farming and forestry areas, and high risk sites in urban and industrial areas.  They could easily fall on areas where naked flames are forbidden for health and safety reasons to avoid fire and explosion.  I would urge anyone planning to release burning lanterns for whatever reason, to think again and find a more considerate way of marking the occasion.”

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