Wiltshire residents are being encouraged not to light sky lanterns in a show of solidarity for those working in the healthcare sector as they pose a serious hazard.
Social media campaigns have been encouraging people up and down the country to light up the night sky with lanterns as a mark of respect to those fighting the COVID-19 battle. However, such behaviour could put individuals and livestock at risk, as well as posing a massive risk to our beautiful countryside.
Fire chiefs have been very vocal in their discouragement of the campaign, with the Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service also saying on Twitter this morning “There are safer ways to support the NHS right now, lighting Sky Lanterns definitely is NOT one of them” – the message is clear.
As well as the risk of fire damage to the countryside and properties, responding to emergencies – no matter how big or small – puts an added strain on the fire service.
We’re all being are being encouraged to take part in the #ClapforourCarers event every Thursday evening instead.
Chair of the National Fire Chiefs Council, Roy Wilsher, has said: “While I fully understand people wanting to show their support to the NHS, I would encourage people to find a different way to do this.
“All emergency services are currently under unprecedented pressure due to Covid-19, and I am concerned this type of activity could not only put additional pressure on the fire service, but further strain on the NHS.”
The Country Land and Business Association (CLA), which represents land and farm owners across the Isle of Wight, echos the concerns raised.
Mark Bridgeman, President of the CLA, says: “There is simply no responsible way to use them. They can kill animals, litter the countryside and start fires, especially as the moorland is extremely dry at the moment which could spark another national emergency.
“Releasing a naked flame, with absolutely no control over where it will land, is a serious threat to rural businesses, livestock, wildlife and the environment.”
Don't miss out on breaking local 999 news - follow us on Facebook now: