Warning on lantern dangers to livestock

RAISING AWARENESS: Christine Bridges with the Chinese lanterns she found scattered around horses and sheep in Foulridge.

RAISING AWARENESS: Christine Bridges with the Chinese lanterns she found scattered around horses and sheep in Foulridge.

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A Foulridge resident who found 50 used Chinese lanterns scattered on land around her farm has issued a stark warning about the dangers they pose to livestock.

Christine Bridges (55), who lives at Accornlee Hall Farm, is urging anybody thinking of releasing the novelty items to consider the serious consequences their actions could have.

Her warning comes after she had to pick up dozens of lanterns near to her horses and sheep on Sunday morning, following a release on Saturday night at around 9pm.

Her concerns are echoed by the RSPCA, who state that Chinese lanterns can harm wildlife, livestock and other animals by causing injuries that lead to suffering and a slow painful death.

The charity highlights how animals can be harmed either by ingestion, fire, or entanglement and entrapment, and offer suggestions of alternative ways to mark an occasion. These include using stationary candles, planting trees, or making donations.

Mrs Bridges said: “People let them off thinking they are going to burn and disappear into thin air - they don’t.

“They can land in fields were livestock are, and sheep or lambs are going to chew away at them. It’s dangerous.

“I think they are banned around campsites, as the paper can still be lit when they come down.

“I saw these lanterns going up on Saturday night, and thought that some of them will come into our fields. I went around the next morning and picked 50 up.”

Chinese lanterns are made from paper covered wire or bamboo frames and an open flame heat source.

During an average flight of 20 minutes they soar to a height of more than 1200 feet and depending on the prevailing wind can come to earth many miles from the launch point.

Prevention support manager for Lancashire Fire and Rescue Steve Morgan said that following reports from other parts of the country it could be “only a matter of time before a lantern starts a serious blaze in Lancashire”.

He added: “There is no guarantee that the fuel source will be fully extinguished and cooled when the lantern eventually descends and that prevents a real fire hazard.”