FIRE chiefs have warned people about the use of Chinese lanterns, particularly during the warmer weather.

North Wales Fire and Rescue Service has received a number of calls from concerned members of the public over Chinese lanterns, which are increasingly popular at parties but are perceived as a fire hazard.

With the recent dry spell generating an increased risk of fire in rural areas, there is a heightened concern that smouldering lanterns could easily cause such a fire.

The dangers of Chinese lanterns have previously generated calls for them to be banned.

Late last year three-year-old Cael Jones, of Penycae, Wrexham, was burnt by hot wax from a Chinese lantern. He was left scarred above his eye and left severely traumatised by the incident.

Anne Wrench, of Beeches Farm at Saltney Ferry, Flintshire, found several lantern remains on the farm, which she feared could have been eaten by cattle.

“A total ban is what we want,” she said. “These lanterns will be extremely dangerous to our cattle if they are eaten and they are also a fire hazard.”

Dave Evans, from North Wales Fire and Rescue Service, has issued the firm warning about the dangers the lanterns carry.

He said: “With the increasing use of Chinese lanterns at wedding ceremonies and other celebratory events the public needs to be aware that these lanterns have a number of associated problems.

“Our primary concern is the risk of a smouldering lantern causing a fire and the injuries they can cause to livestock if consumed by the animal.

“Once these lanterns are released into the air there is no control of where they go and they can travel a significant distance.”

Mr Evans added: “If a smouldering lantern was to land on dry farmland, this could lead to a grass or mountain fire and spread across a large area of land.”

He added: “Fires like this place a tremendous pressure on our resources for considerable lengths of time, put the safety of firefighters and the public at risk and cause considerable damage to the environment.

“We strongly advise people to act responsibly in these dry conditions.

“And remember that setting fires deliberately is a criminal offence and we are actively working alongside North Wales Police to combat such incidents.”

Anyone with information on such crimes is advised to anonymously call Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.