Forums > Technical Discussion > Lighting the ground (safely making fire rings)

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Paddy


back from the dead...sort of
Location: 4341'N 7938'W

Total posts: 884
Posted: I've seen this done in a few videos, including Nick's first video (found somewhere on his site).

I presume that it's done by pouring fuel on the ground before the performance and lighting it later on (duuuh). But I've some question regarding the details....

1) What fuel do you use? Any special mixtures? How much gives enough flame?
2) Does the fuel stain pavement? How about granite/sidewalk? Does the fire leave a mark on these surfaces?
3) How fast does it evaporate...what's the window of opportunity? Is it feasable to prep the burn before the performance, then use it as a finale?
4) Along the same lines, does the fuel soak into any kinds of surfaces, making the window of opportunity smaller?

I did all sort of searches but could only find info on body tracing. Can anyone help?

EDIT: thread rename to reflect change of topic later on.

[ 21. July 2003, 01:22: Message edited by: Paddy ]


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Paddy


back from the dead...sort of
Location: 4341'N 7938'W

Total posts: 884
Posted:*bump*

C'mon guys, in you big lot of pyros out there, no one has any info on this?


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Mistress Aurora


Mistress Aurora

Hot Schtuff
Location: Stillwater,OK/Wichita Falls,TX

Total posts: 1032
Posted:In one of our vids we had made a circle of fire around the performer. We used XXXX {{{edited for safety, sorry Mistess Aurora}}} and poured it on a dirt patch. This took quite alot of fuel, because the ground was dry for one and also it was on dirt, so it filtered down into the earth. Our circle was about 10 or 12 feet across and we made it by having a person stand in the middle and hold an extention cord while another person traced the circle in the dirt. Then we had another person follow the traces in the dirt and pour the gas. We made about 3 or 4 trips around the circle to make sure there was enough to ignite. We then immediatly lit it after somebody was in the circle.

You have to be quick with gas because it evaporates so fast. Another thing we had to take into consideration is that it was really cold and so the fuel didn't evaporate as quickly had it been warmer outside.

Hope that helps you out. I'm not too sure on the whole part of it staining the ground or not. We did have this one crazed woman light herself on fire after dousing herself in gas at a gas station a couple months ago. My bros say you can still see on the pavement where she lit herself.But I'm not totally sure on that because I have not seen that for myself.

I hope that sheds some light for you.

Good Luck!

[ 20. July 2003, 09:40: Message edited by: Charles ]



RISK: Do not follow the common path; Go where there is no path and leave a trail.

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Astar


member
Location: Nova Scotia, Canada.

Total posts: 1591
Posted:another thing that you could possibly do is soak some hemp rope (or anything that's natural fibres) in fuel then put it around in a circle then light it, it would be a one time use thing but it would allow you to set it up before a performance.

I am speculating about the rope thing because I haven't tried it, but it should work.


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Paddy


back from the dead...sort of
Location: 4341'N 7938'W

Total posts: 884
Posted:Thanks for the help!

If it evaporates quickly, the rope may be a very good idea. I'll look into white gas as well, as I think I'd use XXXX as a last resort (safety, etc).

Anyone else have any experience with this? Especially with burns that flow over a large surface for just a second or two?

[ 20. July 2003, 09:42: Message edited by: Charles ]


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Charles
BRONZE Member since Jun 2001

Charles

Corporate Circus Arts Entertainer
Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Total posts: 3989
Posted:Paddy & Aurora.

I apologise for the harshness of this repsonse, but DO NOT USE what you said you would use as a last resort!!!

XXXXXX is one of the most dangerous substances available today if you intend to light it.

It burns so hot that people can get 2-3rd degree burns in moments, rather than seconds.

It's highly explosive, not just in the liquid form but has an extremely low flashpoint which means it evaporates quickly and the gas leaves a tangible trail running back to the liquid.

Please, don't use XXXXXXX for ANYTHING.

And please don't don't discuss it on Home Of Poi, either. Becaus eit is so readily available, even 8 year olds canget hold of it, and try to attempt what has been discussed in this thread.

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE don't use it, have a last resort of giving up, yours and others helath is far more important than a ring of fire...

[ 20. July 2003, 09:49: Message edited by: Charles ]


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Achluophobia
BRONZE Member since Jul 2003

Magical Sock Dancer
Location: Newfoundland, Canada

Total posts: 255
Posted:Just too add to what Charles said, gas is meant to go into an internal combustion engin.
It looks like it's meant to explode so lighting hemp soaked in it wouldn't be a good idea.


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Paddy


back from the dead...sort of
Location: 4341'N 7938'W

Total posts: 884
Posted:Sorry guys, my bad. I know that XXXXXXX is very very dangerous when used on equipment. When Mistress Aurora mentioned she had used it for this different purpose, I thought that maybe it was slightly more safe when used in this context (ie. further away from body). Guess not!

I know that *I* am responsible with fuel and fire and everything involved, but I will try to remember that we have some impressionable youngsters visiting on here too. I will also try to remember I don't know everything. Thank you for the heads up.

Back on track...what is the best mixture of SAFE fuel to use?


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Mistress Aurora


Mistress Aurora

Hot Schtuff
Location: Stillwater,OK/Wichita Falls,TX

Total posts: 1032
Posted:Sorry too you guys.

Paddy I also thought it would somewhat ok if it was soaked on the dirt ground. I forgot too that we may have lil ones on here and the last thing I want is for a fellow HoPper or anybody for that matter hurting themselves on account of posts like this.



RISK: Do not follow the common path; Go where there is no path and leave a trail.

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Astar


member
Location: Nova Scotia, Canada.

Total posts: 1591
Posted:Hey why don't we remove all the mentions of fire on HoP so it is safe for everyone.

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Dio


Dio

HoP Mechanical Engineer
Location: OK, USA

Total posts: 729
Posted:Astar, if you'll notice there's an overwhelming availability of information on HoP about how to RESPONSIBLY perform with fire. We acknowledge that it's dangerous in its own right, but things like the fuel discussion are designed to help keep things under as much control as we can possibly exert on them. Asking this thread politely to remove mentions of a dangerous (and it would seem irresponsible) practice is not over-censoring the issue, nor is it in any way taking away from what HoP promotes - responsible, safe fire performance.

I myself am not without guilt in this, I honestly thought that certain fuels when used as ground fire would be safe enough. This thread is an eye opener, I will say that. However, when I first asked a senior fire performer with years of experience to help me with the fire circle for a video project, that was what he recommended, saying he's been "doing it for years," etc. I think the lack of discussion on this particular topic might contribute to unsafe ground fire practices, so I am grateful it's getting addressed like this.

And I don't plan on any more attempts to do this trick unsafely. Thanks all for helping bring this issue to light!


What hits the fan is not evenly distributed.

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Astar


member
Location: Nova Scotia, Canada.

Total posts: 1591
Posted:how can discussion prevent it if we censor our the name of the substance? Are people who read this supposed to guess what they should use? It doesn't even reccomend what alternative fuels people should use.

also people keep exagerating the potency of "XXXXX" But im not going to bother debating that.


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Paddy


back from the dead...sort of
Location: 4341'N 7938'W

Total posts: 884
Posted:Okay, this debate is important, so feel free to have it here. I'm going to start another thread, because even without the debate, this thread has gone a bit off topic. I'm not looking to make a ring of fire, but light the ground for a brief second. Watch this and you'll see what I mean.

I'll wait a bit before starting the new topic so everyone can get used to the name change of this topic.

I think Astar has a point...I think it would be good to at least name the substance so that people know what not to do. The more I think about it, the more I realize Charles' advice was only helpful because I happened to know what he was talking about. (BTW, cheers again for that, Charles!) I've seen other threads where the word is not censored, and the ensuing comments are enough to realize that using the stuff is a really stupid idea.

ON THE OTHER HAND, little kids are not the kind of people to read things fully, nor are they the kind of people to fully realize the implications of what is said. Thusly, I'm very torn on the issue...


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Charles
BRONZE Member since Jun 2001

Charles

Corporate Circus Arts Entertainer
Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Total posts: 3989
Posted:Astar...I'm sorry you feel that way. For a small insight into the way I feel...

Go to the burns unit at your local hospital, and have a look around.

Perhaps then you might understand a tiny amount of what is trying to be prevented here.

Also, after that, go and talk to a paediatrician and find out how many children have hurt themselves or killed themselves because they read or saw something stupid somewhere and tried it themselves. I hope to prevent HoP being one of these sources.

PAddy, I understand your own mixed emotions, however, I do not want a SINGLE post on this BB to represent that fuel in a positive light, the ensuing discussion, including Achluophobia's post, tells anyone who is bothering to read the whole thread what the fuel is, but does not portray it as a consideration for messing around with.


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ben-ja-men
GOLD Member since Jun 2003

ben-ja-men

just lost .... evil init
Location: Adelaide, Australia

Total posts: 2474
Posted:charles information is the best way to educate ppl, maybe a article written on fire cirles and the effects of the fuel in discussion, my little brother was going to learn to fire breath it wasnt until i made him read the article about the effects of Fire Breathing that he decided against it. education is the only way to get rid of ignorance. if ppl read the effects and decide to go ahead that is their decision

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourself, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous and talented? Who are you NOT to be?

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DeepSoulSheep
GOLD Member since Sep 2002

DeepSoulSheep

Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: Berlin, Ireland

Total posts: 2617
Posted:Did anyone ask Nick what he used in his. He logs on here as Meenik.

I live in a world of infinite possibilities.

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Paddy


back from the dead...sort of
Location: 4341'N 7938'W

Total posts: 884
Posted:I keep meaning to but forgetting. I'll make sure to do so tonight.

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perth
BRONZE Member since Jun 2003

member
Location: tampa, fl, USA

Total posts: 13
Posted:the people in my circle (pun intended) of friends light the ground often with regular colemans. usually it takes about 1/4 can and 3-4 times around the circle (some are even ignorant enough to continue pouring while the fire is lit - please dont do this ).

the local police dont like us lighting the ground in that way because it literally melts the sand into a big black ring. i would imagine it does the same thing to pavement.

also, if the ground has standing water on it, the fuel can spread. this has a nice effect and doesnt destroy the ground, but its far more unpredictable, and its very likely youll be burning off some leg hair (and possibly igniting yourself) if you try it.

in short, its probably not a safe thing to do anywhere, but then again neither is spitting lamp oil into a torch.


Signatures are for people who can read bad penmanship.

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Charles
BRONZE Member since Jun 2001

Charles

Corporate Circus Arts Entertainer
Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Total posts: 3989
Posted:Sorry to start this up again abit late guys, but , Benjamen, if

quote: information is the best way to educate ppl Then no-one would smoke anymore! There is virtually no-one in the western world who hasn't been educated about the effects of smoking, and yet there are thousands of people in those countries every year who take it up!

Edcuation doesn't stop people doing stupid things. It stops a tiny percentage, it makes a larger proportion think before doing something, who then do it anyway, and it doesn't even enter into the thought processes of others.

As i have said before quote: PAddy, I understand your own mixed emotions, however, I do not want a SINGLE post on this BB to represent that fuel in a positive light, the ensuing discussion, including Achluophobia's post, tells anyone who is bothering to read the whole thread what the fuel is, but does not portray it as a consideration for messing around with.
If people flame me or send me hate letters or whatever, but i happen to save one person's life by my actions then it will all be worth it.

And you are welcome to argue with me as much as you want, but I am not backing down on this issue. Flame away at me if you must.

I'd rather that than have someone's death on my hands.


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perth
BRONZE Member since Jun 2003

member
Location: tampa, fl, USA

Total posts: 13
Posted:in all fairness, charles, people accept the responsibility of fire safety every time they flick a lighter. i agree that people should be encoraged to not do stupid things, but if someone chooses to be stupid then thats their own problem, not yours, whether you warned them or not. (this was not intended to be a flame, rather a warning that you may be considering yourself responsible for events far beyond your control).

Signatures are for people who can read bad penmanship.

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ben-ja-men
GOLD Member since Jun 2003

ben-ja-men

just lost .... evil init
Location: Adelaide, Australia

Total posts: 2474
Posted:charles im not trying to flame you, i admire your strong stance. what im trying to get across though is that without the information on the side effects of Fire Breathing my brother would have done it and caused himself some serious long term damage.

the reason my brother was going to take up Fire Breathing is some other ppl i know do it and where teaching him with water and they didnt know the side effects so their ignorance would have been responcible for his harm.

i think most ppl would be able to guess the substance in question and may consider using it through not knowing any better but if they are given information on its explosive nature and high flashpoint temperature and the alternatives i dont see how anyone could consider it as an option whereas without knowing better everything is an option until there is a reason for it not to be


Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourself, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous and talented? Who are you NOT to be?

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Charles
BRONZE Member since Jun 2001

Charles

Corporate Circus Arts Entertainer
Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Total posts: 3989
Posted:Perth & Benjamen

quote: may be considering yourself responsible for events far beyond your control But, these events are partially under my control? I can prevent a few people, every now and then, from being exposed to ideas that they could use to hurt themselves or others.

I don't lie awake at night worrying about those I haven't prevented. but I also know in my heart, I have done all I can reasonably do with my role as a moderator.

I shouldn't be a moderator, if I allow myself to think that nothing i do on HoP will stop SOME people from hurting themselves.

Just like I never let young children know that kerosene is used by fireperformers when i'm practicing or performing. Because the chances that they could go home and find a bottle of kerosene in the cupboard is quite high.

Stupid actions are 99% opportunity and 1% stupidity...

Benajmen - I'm a little confused, we seem to be agreeing but arguing at the same time??

Perhaps its because you imagine everyone online reading this thread in it's entirety, rather than just selected posts like most people do.

Notice the thread itself has not been deleted nor anything else except the name of the substance.

This promotes discussion and warnings and helps to stop a few statements from being taken out of context.

It's the least i can do, in my opinion


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ben-ja-men
GOLD Member since Jun 2003

ben-ja-men

just lost .... evil init
Location: Adelaide, Australia

Total posts: 2474
Posted:charles i understand what you are saying what i am suggesting is that a article like

http://www.homeofpoi.com/articles/fire_breathing.htm
br>
is written such that all the required information is there and that when the question comes up again ppl can just be directly refered to the article


Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourself, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous and talented? Who are you NOT to be?

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MillenniuM
PLATINUM Member since Jul 2003

MillenniuM

Hyperloops suck
Location: USA

Total posts: 595
Posted:Charles - Your smoking analogy is correct, however your deduction in incorrect. If someone is educated in the harmful effects of smoking, and they choose to smoke anyways, that is their own choice. They were educated, they knew the dangers envolved, they had every opportunity to not smoke, but they did it anyways.

Now let us apply this to our situation. If we educate people about fire safety, tell them what is relatively safe and what is absolutely dangerous, we've given everyone the opportunity to avoid danger and stay safe. However, if we simply mask them from any issues at hand, and tell them "Don't do it!" many people will come across XXXXXXX and say "Hey, I'll light the ground with that!" and not know that it's a bad idea, since you decided not to allow it spoken in this thread.

You are correct that you will never stop a certain amount of the population from doing stupid stuff, but the least we can do is educate those willing to learn by saying what XXXXXXX is (Hell, I don't even know, and if I ever get in to Fire Poi, which I will, I'd surely like to know what is so incredibly dangerous so I can avoid it).

Sorry if I seem to be outstepping my boundaries, as you are all regulars and I am not, as well as you all being more experienced in these matters than I am... but I firmly believe that the best way to help the public is to provide information and let them make their own decisions.


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onewheeldave
GOLD Member since Aug 2002

Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: sheffield, United Kingdom

Total posts: 3252
Posted:Also, smoking is a seriously addictive activity and alot of people who do it are doing so not through choice but through addiction.

Education about ill effects have very little power where addiction is concerned.

In contrast, using XXXX is not addictive, and educating people about it's characteristics i.e. it's violent explosiveness, highly flammable vapours etc etc is a good and useful thing.

I too am uneasy about refering to it as xxxx cos newcomers to this forum will have no idea whatsoever what it is and therefore won't know not to use it.


"You can't outrun Death forever.
But you can make the Bastard work for it."

--MAJOR KORGO KORGAR,
"Last of The Lancers"
AFC 32


Educate your self in the Hazards of Fire Breathing STAY SAFE!

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Charles
BRONZE Member since Jun 2001

Charles

Corporate Circus Arts Entertainer
Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Total posts: 3989
Posted:If you are interested, you can easily find out what the fuel is by reading this thread, it's meantioned by name at least once.

Where the name has been edited was statements that, read on their own, without reading the other content of this thread, has a very high chance of allowing someone to think it is as 'safe' a fuel as others. Safe being a relative word...

Such as my previous comment.

quote: ...and helps to stop a few statements from being taken out of context...


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cicatrix


member
Location: Montreal

Total posts: 32
Posted:Yeah, third degree burns are definitely forever. Hence my name! Check out my website to see what you will look like (or worse) if you are not constantly vigilant. I mean, it looks cool, but it's a lot of anguish for the effect, believe me !

But in terms of pouring fire etc., it won't burn as long, but I've had a lot of luck using alchohol for various similar effects, especially if I'm not going to be waving it about too much. If you soak something in 70% friction alchohol it will burn very well and it's a cold flame that is ( relatively ) safe-ish to work with. I set myself on fire with it on a regular basis, anyway, and so far only a couple of hairs have been singed. I've never made a circle of flame with it, but I've done similar types of things as I said and it's always worked well.

(disclaimer: if you look at my site and see my pix, I was burned in a kitchen accident with water when I was 4; it didn't have anything to do with playing with fire, don't worry)


'share and enjoy'

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TeeJay


TeeJay

member
Location: Malaeimi, Am. Samoa

Total posts: 75
Posted:I know this is way late - but in case someone looks it up eventually..... ubbangel

Our fireknife dancers love to do the "wall of fire".
What they do is to simply soak their knives and, without shaking them off (when they go onstage only one side is lit - the other is soaked but not shaken off) - they spin off the fuel in a straight line in front of them, usually moving in a sidestep across the stage (ahead of the fuel).
Then - they quickly drop to one knee and light the fuel.
Almost every fireknife dancer uses straight Coleman's - except for a crazt fuel from Western Samoa who use gasoline. Of course - three of them caught themselves onfire last year doing so......but they still don't listen.

Soifua,
Teejay


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TeeJay


TeeJay

member
Location: Malaeimi, Am. Samoa

Total posts: 75
Posted:I know this is way late - but in case someone looks it up eventually..... ubbangel

Our fireknife dancers love to do the "wall of fire".
What they do is to simply soak their knives and, without shaking them off (when they go onstage only one side is lit - the other is soaked but not shaken off) - they spin off the fuel in a straight line in front of them, usually moving in a sidestep across the stage (ahead of the fuel).
Then - they quickly drop to one knee and light the fuel.
Almost every fireknife dancer uses straight Coleman's - except for a crazy few from Western Samoa who use gasoline. Of course - three of them caught themselves onfire last year doing so......but they still don't listen.

Soifua,
Teejay


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Medusa
BRONZE Member since Nov 2003

Medusa

veteran
Location: 8 days at Cloudbreak, 6 in Per...

Total posts: 1433
Posted:I have agree with the majority...when I first started Fire Twirling I was not exactly told which fuels would be okay to use and I thought anything flammable was going to be okay.

I knew nothing about flash points and the likes...I think that by censoring the name of something that can be classified as dangerous might not be the best way to go.

(Sorry if this is out of line)

If it wasn't for a friend who also fire twirls telling me that using just ordinary petrol was highly dangerous I would have used it not knowing the risks.

We now know how dangerous this fuel is that was mentioned but because of the censoring we have no idea what it is so how do we know to avoid it if we don't know the name of it?


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Charles
BRONZE Member since Jun 2001

Charles

Corporate Circus Arts Entertainer
Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Total posts: 3989
Posted:Thanks for your input, Medusa.

You certainly aren't out of line, and your post mentioning that highly dangerous fuel is the perfect example of what is ok.

It says that it is dangerous, and if it was the only post a surfer reads, then they will still know of the dangers.

If you read the first page you will find several instances where the offending fuel is mentioned without being edited, because as your own post does too, it is in a much safer context.

Does that make sense?


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