Essex County Fire and Rescue Service

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Chinese Lantern Warning

ECFRS is warning people not to use Chinese lanterns after a stray lantern sparked a huge fire in Smethwick in the Midlands.

The lanterns work like miniature hot air balloons powered by candles lit inside a paper canopy, once lit they fly away into the night sky.

They often land still alight and if they land on something flammable fire can soon spread.

Station Officer Lee Palfreyman, Colchester Station Commander, said: “These lanterns pose a real risk of starting fires.

“They might look beautiful when first they take off, but it is when they land miles from where they were lit that they become dangerous.

“In this dry weather, fire spreads quickly and burns ferociously.

“Chinese lanterns are made to be launched over the sea and they are not appropriate for use inland.

“I would urge people to think about the possible consequences and look at today's incident in the West Midlands, before ever thinking of launching one of these lanterns.”

Click here to find out more about the fire

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