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Sky lanterns - are they dangerous

(6 Posts)
grendel Sun 13-Sep-09 23:47:38

I was wondering about getting some of these for DDs party next weekend - they look so pretty.

But then I had a thought: Is it not dangerous, setting off these little craft with flames underneath to land you know not where? I'm thinking about the possibility of them landing on a thatched roof or a hay bale (pretty rural round here). Or do the flames go out pretty quickly?

And what happens to the lanterns when they come down? I would never chuck litter out of the car window - why would it be OK to kind of chuck it up into the sky?

On the other hand - they're so pretty and DD would absolutely love them.

Please someone come and tell me it's OK!

Housemum Mon 14-Sep-09 00:15:46

I have no idea of the eco-credentials - something at the back of my mind says that farmers don't like them as when the paper has burned away the frame bit is wire? Which must be an issue for animals? Hopefully someone with more knowledge will tell you that!

As for how they work, we used one at Bluestone on hols (which supposedly is quite "green" so I would hope they'd researched it) - it was a bit of a sod to light, took DH a while to get it going. They are like those paper globe light shades (with less wire in the frame), and at the bottom there is a fluid-soaked pad that you light if you imagine the base as like a lampshade fitting with a square pad in the middle). The idea is that you hold this over a flame (they had garden torches at Bluestone) to burn the fuel on the pad, whilst holding the lantern, then the hot air will make the lantern feel ready to take off as it fills, at which point you let go. They burn for around 20 mins; once the flame has gone out the air cools inside it and it falls to the ground somewhere.

They did look beautiful floating in the air - they disappear a bit too quick if it's windy, though.

ABetaDad Mon 14-Sep-09 00:19:08

They only come down when the flame goes out.

People set them off round where we used to live in open countryside after weddings and the place was full of thatched cottages and Grade I listed country houses. Not a disasterous fire in sight.

As for litter, mostly the are made of paper and it wil rot away quickly. Let DD enjoy herself by letting a few lantern float away and no worse than letting a few party baloons go.

grendel Mon 14-Sep-09 00:35:51

Thank you both for easing my conscience. That was exactly what I wanted to hear.

Right, off to buy some on eBay now!

moondog Mon 14-Sep-09 00:39:38

I love them.We have big parties, get wrecked and go mad on them.Fantastic"!!

BattyBum Mon 14-Sep-09 00:45:14

PIL were caravaning, some people set one off and it went out over the sea. Someone saw it and thought it was a distress flare, called the coastguard and full scale search and rescue went ahead.

Avoid seaside, flight paths and military areas.

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