The UK Chief Fire Officers’ Association (CFOA) has called for a review on the use of flying paper lanterns after an assessment of the hours taken to attend fires the lanterns have caused.

Flying lanterns, also known as ‘Chinese lanterns’ are constructed from rice paper. They contain a small candle and when lit, the flame heats the air inside the lantern and it rises into the air until the flame dies.

“CFOA does not support the use of these devices and asks members of the public and event organisers to refrain from using them. Whilst these lanterns are undoubtedly a popular and beautiful sight, the potential damage they can cause is significant,” the association said.

The association cited video evidence of a lantern causing a major fire that required 200+ firefighters, 39 fire appliances and three hydraulic platforms to attend; while police and coastguards also have had to deal with lantern sightings being mistaken for distress flairs.