Take care this New Year, Bucks fire service warns

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Firefighters are urging people to take extra care if they are considering using flying lanterns or fireworks as part of their New Year celebrations.

Neil Boustred, head of Bucks Fire and Rescue Service’s community safety team, said unsuitable locations for flying lanterns included areas near telephone and power lines, standing crops, buildings with thatched roofs, dense woodland and heath or bracken.

Mr Boustred said: “You can’t control the direction they take or where they will land.

“There is no guarantee that the fuel source will be fully extinguished and cooled when the lantern lands, and that’s a real fire hazard.”

Two years ago, a stray flying lantern set fire to a car in Chalfont St Giles after landing next to it and then being blown underneath it.

The fire service said that as well as being a potential fire hazard, the lanterns often contain wire which can kill or injure animals, damage farm machinery or end up in animal feed.

The lanterns have also reportedly tied up a great deal of emergency service time over the years because they are sometimes mistaken for UFOs or distress flares.