The South Cyprus Department of Forestry has on Monday warned against the use of Chinese lanterns declaring them to be an environmental hazard, ‘Cyprus Mail’ reports.
In an announcement, the department said the lanterns, which carry a small candle, are uncontrollable and pose a high risk of causing forest fires when they fall.
It is also illegal to import them to the island, it said. Despite this, the use of the lanterns is widespread at weddings, christenings and other events, it added.
“They are considered a threat to the natural environment, particularly in rural areas where their use is likely to lead to fires with unpredictable catastrophic consequences,” said the department.
“Any person using lanterns or causing fire as a result of their use is guilty of an offence and on conviction is subject to imprisonment or to a fine or to both such fine and imprisonment.”
The public is advised when it detects use of lanterns to immediately inform the nearest police/fire station or the forestry department, or phoning 112 or 1407.
In the TRNC call Fire Emergencies 199; Forest Fires Hotline 177