With the start of Chinese New Year - the year of the Dragon - on Monday (23 January), Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service is urging those celebrating the festivities to do so safely.
Community firefighters will be out and about engaging with the Chinese community throughout the celebrations to raise awareness of the precautions people can take to reduce the risk of fire.
The Chinese New Year and the Chinese Lantern festival that follows are special occasions for members of the Chinese communities, as it is a period of good luck and starting afresh.
The use of paper lanterns has become increasingly popular and Chinese lanterns have been traditionally used for nearly 2,000 years. The lanterns are generally made from paper, supported by a frame that incorporates a holder at the base for a solid fuel heat source.
They can often lift to a height of over 1,200ft and fly for up to 20 minutes and once the fuel cell has expired the lanterns float back to earth. They can potentially cause harm to cattle, pose a fire risk and can be confused with distress flares.
George Sansom, Station Manager at Carlisle fire station, said: "We want people to enjoy the Chinese New Year celebrations but we urge them to think carefully before releasing these lanterns and consider the consequences.
"Itís not possible for anyone using these lanterns to control the actual direction they take or where they will land and there is no guarantee that the fuel will be fully extinguished and cooled when the lantern eventually lands - this can present farmers and landowners as well as firefighters with a real fire hazard."
Tips when using Chinese lanterns:
* Always consider the local environment for the launch site and intended flight path.
* Lanterns should be used by responsible adults only
* Water should be on hand in case the lantern catches fire
* The launch area should be kept clear of combustible materials.
* Damaged lanterns should not be used.
* Ensure sufficient clearance to avoid obstacles such as trees, powerlines or buildings.
* Avoid launching near busy roads, especially major roads and motorways.
* Avoid standing crops.
* Do not launch within five miles of an airport.
* Do not launch in wind speeds in excess of 5mph
* Check wind direction before launch.
For more information about the free home fire safety advice service available call Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service on 0800 358 4777 or go to cumbriafire.gov.uk
Media enquiries to communications adviser Kate Stark on 01228 226603