Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service is urging members of the public to avoid the use of sky lanterns as Lunar New Year festivities get underway today (February 1).
The service says the lanterns, which are also known as Chinese lanterns, are a serious fire risk as they can land anywhere and can pose a serious risk to crops, vehicles, livestock and the environment.
Although illegal in Germany, sky lanterns caused a serious fire at a zoo in the city of Krefeld in 2020 killing dozens of animals, including 30 primates in the monkey house.
The Fire Kills campaign and Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service is now urging people in Derbyshire to take care if a sky lantern must be used during celebrations.
It says that those wishing to use a sky lantern should keep the launch area clear of flammable materials, with children and other observers advised to maintain a safe distance upwind of the launch.
Sky lanterns should not be launched within five miles of any airport, near roads – especially major roads or motorways – and be away from crops, especially in dry conditions.
Other advice includes ensuring enough clearance on the sky lantern to avoid obstacles such as trees, power lines or buildings, and to check the wind direction before launch, ensuring wind speeds are not in excess of 5mph.
"Do not tie anything to the lantern as this may cause instability which could lead to the lantern igniting,” the service added.