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Chinese lanterns

(27 Posts)
HUNTERF Tue 02-Jul-13 09:38:41

I have just read about the fire at the re cycling centre which appears to have been started by a Chinese lantern.
About a year ago some burning paper fell out of the sky and fell on to my lawn about 2 yards from where I was standing.
Thinking about it this may have been the remnants of a Chinese lantern.
Unfortunately I did not realise what it was as I did not know Chinese Lanterns existed but I can remember thinking it was lucky a fire was not started somewhere.
Looking from hindsight probably I should have called the police.


Bags Tue 02-Jul-13 09:40:57

What could they have done, Frank?

ninathenana Tue 02-Jul-13 09:55:50

At the moment they're not illegal. So police would not be interested. Although I think they should be.
It's not just the fire risk, it's the wire frame that's dangerous to wildlife and farm stock.
I believe some are now made with plastic. Still not a good idea.

HUNTERF Tue 02-Jul-13 10:10:43


I did not think they could have done anything.
I did spot the burning paper floating down and on the spur of the moment I just decided to keep my eye on it as the grass etc was very dry.
I could have ran if I could see it was going to land on me.


Bags Tue 02-Jul-13 10:12:24

So why do you think you should have called the police if there was nothing they could do? Wouldn't that just be wasting police time?

HUNTERF Tue 02-Jul-13 10:15:22


Probably from what you are saying it was probably not from a Chinese lantern.
It is still strange how whatever it was fell from the sky.


sunseeker Tue 02-Jul-13 10:58:59

I have always thought it a strange idea to take a naked flame and send up into the sky to float away to who knows where. They should be banned not only as a fire risk but also as ninathenana says they are a danger to animals. I recently heard of a cow, having chewed on one of these things, whose stomach had then been pierced by the metal frame

j08 Tue 02-Jul-13 11:10:24

Bags perhaps it would n't have been wasting police time. There must be a law against endangering property. Frank would gave been quite within his rights to complain.

MaggieP Tue 02-Jul-13 11:44:02

I think they should be banned. Farmers have had problems with cattle eating them, owls caught in them etc.
We lit one at Easter for the first time for the Grandkids, and I was worried when I saw it rising so high and away on the wind and felt that would be the one and only time we would do it.
There are rules that says you should not light them within 5 miles of an airport!!
Fire risk must be great especially with such dry ground at present.

Bags Tue 02-Jul-13 12:03:02

I imagine it would be quite hard to determine from whence the lantern came. I agree about the potential damge they can do and don't think they should be allowed, but I still think Frank's case would most likely have been a waste of police time.

NfkDumpling Tue 02-Jul-13 12:09:01

Easy - Ban them! Definitely!

I can see the appeal, especially for weddings, but it's a bit like people throwing fag ends and plastic from car windows. No thought is given to the consequences, but the same people complain about how awful it is for the poor cows eating this rubbish and how bad the country looks covered in litter.

It probably was bits breaking free from one that nearly landed on Frank. They're a liability and perhaps now really serious financial damage has been done they may be made illegal. Hope so but not holding my breath.

HUNTERF Tue 02-Jul-13 12:13:47


I can not see it as wasting police time as police must be called a lot when people think there is something wrong when there is not.

Another example where I might have called the emergency services wrongly was when I met an elderly woman about a mile from Sutton Coldfield Town Gate and she was really panicking.
She told me she was 83.

She did ask where Sutton Town Gate was and I thought the best thing I could do was re assure her and walk with her as my car was parked there anyway.
If she had not been capable of walking I could have not just left her and I think I would have had to phone the police as the roads in the park are gated and I don't think a taxi could have got in.

I did start asking some questions while we were walking as thoughts of possible dementia initially went through my mind and I wanted to dig a bit deeper.

Everything she told me added up and she was happy when she saw Town Gate.

I then gave her a lift home and we had a cup of tea before I left so by that point I was convinced she was ok.


Bags Tue 02-Jul-13 12:36:12

Frank, if the woman seemed to need help and had not been happy to walk with you, then a call to police would have been completely in order, I think. The police would have been able to help her. Fortunately she was happy to walk with you so you didn't need to call the police and you did a good turn. Well done.

In what way is this similar to reporting a piece of burning paper that fell into your garden out of the sky? You didn't need help and neither did anyone else as far as I can tell.

Just because people do call the police "a lot when they think something is wrong but there isn't" (to paraphrase what you said) does not mean you should when there isn't anything wrong and you know that there isn't anything wring. You dealt with the burning paper. You did not mention seeing smoke from a fire elsewhere in your description of the incident. An incident requiring police (or fire brigade) intervention did not occur. Therefore, I still think it would have been wrong to call the police in the case you describe.

j08 Tue 02-Jul-13 13:02:05

Frank, if the very likely situation arises where I get lost somewhere, you will come along won't you? Pleeease!

yogagran Tue 02-Jul-13 13:46:14

We had a few Chinese lanterns land on our farm recently. They had come from a near neighbour where they had been hosting a wedding reception. I was reassured to see that the frames were a very thin strip of wood which easily broke up and the paper was like a very thin tissue paper which would have quickly biodegraded. These are a much better design than the older ones which were very dangerous to grazing animals

yogagran Tue 02-Jul-13 13:46:56

Meant to add that I still don't like them sad

Nonu Tue 02-Jul-13 17:43:47

I think they are a total "Royal Pain" and should be banned .
The smoke rising over the Smethwick skyline was horrendous , not to mention the risk to firemen .
Bit like the fire in Arizona where a LOT of brave firemen lost their lives


nanaej Tue 02-Jul-13 17:56:50

As I said on another thread, at my DD1s wedding her new FiL brought a pile of lanterns and everyone went to set them off in the evening. Her new husband and a load of guests were firefighters. The ones we had were all tissue and wood and the candle parts were designed to go out after a set time. I can see if I lived near the stinking fire in Smethwick or as a farmer and animal or crops had been damaged I would be calling for a ban.

However I do think we need to look carefully at facts and figures first. After all we have not banned cigarettes and they have probably caused many more fires,damage and loss of life. Perspective!

j08 Tue 02-Jul-13 19:01:41

Ban fags too then.

Nonu Tue 02-Jul-13 19:12:54

A lot of people will be upset , not to mention the IRS

j08 Tue 02-Jul-13 19:14:16

It's not going to happen, probably for that last reason. (And human rights, I guess)

absent Tue 02-Jul-13 20:15:57

Only in the USA Nonu.

gracesmum Tue 02-Jul-13 20:26:26

What's the IRS got to do with anything? (actually, what's the IRS?)
I can see the "romantic" appeal of Chinese Lanterns - after the Bali massacre etc - just sending the equivalent of a candle up to beyond the sky to remember someone by......BUT inujury and death to livestock? risk to life from thatched roofs catching fire? risk to life for firefighters or people in surrounding areas?
Not worth the risk. Surely someone can come up with an attractive acceptable alternative?

HUNTERF Tue 02-Jul-13 20:29:38


You said ''Ban fags too then''.

I totally agree with you. Also ban fireworks.


gracesmum Tue 02-Jul-13 20:33:58

I thought this thread was about chinese lanterns?