1. National

Smethwick blaze CCTV released

West Midlands Fire Service has released CCTV footage of the moment it believes a Chinese lantern floated into a recyling centre in Smethwick, starting a huge blaze

View all 31 updates ›

Fire service calls for review of laws over 'fire lanterns'

West Midlands Fire Service has called for an urgent review of the legislation regarding the use of "airborne fire lanterns".

There is evidence of them causing fires, wasting emergency services’ time, being mistaken for distress flares, misleading pilots and causing environmental damage.They also pose a risk to livestock, agriculture, camping activities, recycling sites and hazardous material sites.

The risk of further fires can only increase as the lanterns become more popular.

We do not support the use of these devices, and ask that members of the public and event organisers stop using them.

– West Midlands Fire Service statement

The brigade posted a statement on its website in response to what it described as "one of the biggest fires in its history in Smethwick, believed to have been started by a Chinese lantern at around 11pm last night.

More on this story