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to let off a chinese sky lantern?

(31 Posts)
ohboob Sat 18-Jun-11 18:14:07

Actually I think I would be BU so I'm probably not going to, but I was given one of these and wanted to see if there was a way of enjoying them safely. To anyone who has had them, is it in any way possible to light one that is tethered to the ground by string (don't know what they look like when they're lit and as such how big the fuel source is). I thought if it was tethered we could sit and enjoy it for half and hour and then pull it back down to ground and extinguish it. Is that at all possible?

I'd be far too terrifed to let it go completely - read too much about damage to animals and buildings. I don't want to cause a fire. But I want a special moment on my dp's birthday too.

SugarPasteFrog Sat 18-Jun-11 18:22:04

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

NearlySpring Sat 18-Jun-11 18:29:13

Hmm- I have used them lots. Hy are they unsafe? They go very high and I was told the paper they are made from burns an just the ash falls back down. Is that not the case then?

GypsyMoth Sat 18-Jun-11 18:30:28

How do you 'enjoy' them?

hopenglory Sat 18-Jun-11 18:32:34

They are great if you don't mind setting fire to thatches, crops, etc. Ask the fire brigade if they are safe

Lovecat Sat 18-Jun-11 18:33:44

Nearlyspring, there have been reports of them causing the coastguard to be called out uneccessarily/causing air traffic alerts/getting caught in trees/wires/the wire bit inside them falling to the earth and being eaten by/strangling wildlife.

They do look pretty, but I would also be too scared to do it and I'm afraid I do get judgey over people who do let them off at campsites etc.

PlanetEarth Sat 18-Jun-11 18:34:02

They often have wire in them which lands in fields, gets eaten by animals and causes them damage. They don't always extinguish in the air and can cause fires - and/or panic to e.g. horses.

Joolyjoolyjoo Sat 18-Jun-11 18:39:34

Well, last weekend dd1 (7) came running in to say that something had landed in the garden, and "sparks" were coming out of it. We were sceptical, but DH went out and yes, the remains of a chinese lantern had landed in our garden and was on fire!! Our 3 dc were playing in the garden at the time, and were naturally curious- glad dd1 has a very well developed sense of H+S!! It also just missed landing on our trampoline, which could have started a fire/ wrecked the trampoline.

I'd never really thought they were dangerous before, but it was still alight and could have landed on one of my children, so now I'm a bit more inclined to not like them much!!

somethingwitty82 Sat 18-Jun-11 18:39:56

Isnt there a drought and hasn't there been several gorse fires destroying acres and acres?hmm

Like the string idea tho! use fishing line, string may burn thru

expatinscotland Sat 18-Jun-11 18:42:55

Our council has asked that you please let lifeguard/costguard services know if you will be using one of these. They look every bit like a distress flare and services are obligated to answer every one of those.

somethingwitty82 Sat 18-Jun-11 18:44:51

Our local Air base has asked for notice because people report seeing UFOs smile

Scuttlebutter Sat 18-Jun-11 18:46:33

I truly wish they could be banned. We had some over our street last summer, on a boiling summer evening when the garden was really dry and loads of people had washing out. The lanterns landed on our neighbours garage and fortunately they were able to get the glowing bits off - if they'd been out or landed a few feet away they would have started a fire.

There have been a number of documented cases of farm animals eating the metal and suffering consequences, the lanterns setting fire to thatched roofs, hayricks, straw, causing unnecessary Coastguard alerts, the list is endless. How anyone can think sending a flaming object into the night sky to set off in a random direction and land who knows where is beyond me.

MarioandLuigi Sat 18-Jun-11 18:50:54

YABU - they are quite dangerous to animals and birds too.

LRDTheFeministDragon Sat 18-Jun-11 18:51:02

Sorry, I think you shouldn't - what if the string burned/broke? It's a shame, tehy are very pretty but totally unsafe ... and they can float a very long way before burning out, so even if you think there's no worry about them being mistaken for flares where you are, they might be.

fortyplus Sat 18-Jun-11 18:54:19

Surely if it was on a string so couldn't keep risining then the build-up of heat would cause the paper to catch fire anyway? We had some a few years ago that we let off on NYE before all the concerns came to light about cattle eating the wire. I had horses for many years and they weren't unduly spooled by hot air balloons so I can't imagine Chinese lanterns causing a problem from that point of view.

Here's a link from the NFU

somethingwitty82 Sat 18-Jun-11 19:02:02

What if it was a short string? say 6ft?

fortyplus Sat 18-Jun-11 19:02:49

What would be the point of that??

Northernlurker Sat 18-Jun-11 19:05:03

I think they're pretty and I like the idea of setting them off for special occasions. I watched the 4 dcs who live opposite setting them off with their dad a year after their mum died. I don't grudge those kids a lantern.

mycatthinksshesatiger Sat 18-Jun-11 19:08:49

Wish they'd actually ban them.

had argument with my parents about these - they were merrily sending them off into the sky with my DC - only problem is they are directly in the flight path of a major airport, under the area where planes are still gaining altitude or coming in to land. Seemed ludicrous to me - I know the chances are teeny-tiny, but imagine if a burning bit of the lantern hit a plane? Planes are still low enough in this bit of sky I reckon for it to be theoretically possible. Also they live next to a railway line - again, lots of distaster potential. Not to mention they often get caught in trees and could set fire to anything. (My parents by the way accused me of being a kill-joy. It astounded me that in earlier years they were meant to be responsible for our safety as children.....)

GingerWrath Sat 18-Jun-11 19:14:15

mycat I am an ex air traffic controller, they can actually be sucked into the aircraft engines and cause engine failure/engine fires, it's known as 'Foreign Object Damage' and can be catastrophic!

mycatthinksshesatiger Sat 18-Jun-11 19:19:21

exactly Ginger, so it seems like absolute madness to me that you can, legally as far as I know, set these things off right next to an airport! In this Health and Safety- mad world, why are these things still allowed!

ohboob Sat 18-Jun-11 19:21:08

I won't be using it. I have been googling and see that if you were to tether them they overheat and catch fire. Definitely not something I want!

Thanks for your input. I wish I could set it off (lots of rain recently, so nothing tinder box dry, no where near the sea or an airport etc) but the risk to animals isn't worth it. I'll stick to bubbles.

KeepOnSwimming Sat 18-Jun-11 20:22:15

Get a helium balloon with a battery powered LED inside instead!

fivegomadindorset Sat 18-Jun-11 20:24:41

Hideous things, Cmap Bestival let them be sold in a park surrounded by a village with thatched cottages and grazing land.

TidyDancer Sat 18-Jun-11 20:29:44

Glad you decided not to risk it. They are very pretty, but are so potentially dangerous they really need to be banned.

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