They may look beautiful, but a warning has been issued over the use of Chinese lanterns.

Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service is reminding people to take extra care when using lanterns as there is still a fire risk.

Although there has been some rain in recent weeks, local heathland and vegetation is still dry.

Chinese lanterns, also known as wish or flying lanterns, carry a significant risk of fire or injury if not used sensibly.

They are generally made from paper and supported by a wire frame that incorporates a holder at the base for a solid fuel heat source such as a tea light.

The paper outer may or may not be fire retardant, and manufacturers suggest flying times vary from six to eight minutes, and can last up to 20 minutes.

Group manager, Richard Coleman, said: "With Chinese lanterns, you're basically throwing a naked flame into the sky with no control over the direction it will take or where it will land.

"In addition, there is no guarantee that the fuel source will be fully extinguished and cooled when the lantern eventually descends.

"The long, hot summer has left heathland and vegetation extremely dry, even with the recent rain. Chinese lanterns do look lovely, but they are a real hazard, so we would urge people to think twice about using them."

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