Don’t be tempted by paper flying lanterns this New Year

Over the past few years in the UK paper flying Chinese lanterns have become a common sight. They’re really beautiful to watch as they float past, and also a cheap and fun form of entertainment. But unfortunately they cause a lot of problems too, so if you’re thinking of using them to see in 2014 then perhaps you should reconsider. Here’s why:

Fire Hazards

paper lanterns

Every year the fire brigade issues warnings about Chinese paper lanterns. The paper used to make them is supposed to be fire-proof but it isn’t always, so if they’re used in built-up areas then there’s a significant risk of them causing a fire. They get snagged on tree branches, or land on people’s roofs or cars.

Of course most people take sensible precautions, but the wind can often change direction, blowing your paper lantern somewhere entirely different from where you expected it to go, at worst into your own home or back towards you!

With the fire service likely to be on strike on New Year’s Eve, we all need to do our best to reduce the risk of fire.


Most Chinese paper lanterns have a small piece of wire at the base to hold the wick which, when lit, inflates the lantern so it can float away. There have been occasions where the lantern has landed in a field and the wire later eaten by farm animals, leading to expensive vet bills or worse.

Low-Flying Aircraft

Less of a risk admittedly but still plausible, your Chinese paper lantern could pose a risk to any low-flying aircraft if it does happen to go into their flight-path.

So, all things considered, as attractive and fun as paper Chinese lanterns are, perhaps it’s best to give them a miss.

Wishing all of our customers a Happy New Year!