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

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Paddyback from the dead...sort of
884 posts
Location: 43°41'N 79°38'W

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 ]

MiGGOLD Member
Self-Flagellation Expert
3,414 posts
Location: Bogged at CG, Australia

ah, but kerosene has a tendency not to transfer. The number of times i've brushed myself, when i do the burn off with poi, things like that, i've not had kerosene stay lit. I caught my shirt on fire once, but that was the shirt burning, not from kerosene, and went out with a quick slap.

"beg beg grovel beg grovel"

"There was an arse there, i couldn't help myself"

ShuBRONZE Member
Retro Fyre Wizzard
538 posts
Location: Pietermaritzburg (KZN), South Africa

alcohol fuels will light pretty much anywhere, on the ground, on your skin, on your clothes, on mars! oil based fuels are a bit of a different story... Kero/paraffin on the ground wont light, i've tried and tried and tried, but it wont... it needs a wick of sorts and bare ground (or skin) does not cut it... if there's grass to catch then it'll take, even if its green!

I would suggest creating a wick on a structure that can be erected around a performance area, to create your fire circle. I've seen it done before but it's bulky!

As for what Nick did in that video that u referred to... i would suggest Methelated Spirits to do this, but it does not last too long (altho nor did nock's). I've used turpintine before too, however it burns wierd, and quite hot, not really ideal!

I hope that answers the topic!

(gasoline/petrol is strange stuff... you know what i find scary about it? It'll still light at -40degC!

show me the person who thinks that's not dangerous - and i'll show you an ignorant fool!

Regards hug

(Ice-E FyreStorm - Group Manager & Performer)

You know those people your parentals warned you about?... I'M ONE OF THEM! ubbloco
Yes, i do bite!!

Black GnosisBRONZE Member
27 posts
Location: Caucasia, the land of gringos, USA

*smokes a cigerette* i do it for the taste biggrin

now that i dont know what fuel is so horrible i think ill randomly pour fuels from my flammables cabinate at my work place and find out the hard way by lighten' em....ill start with trimethyl-benzene or...or even.....DEISIL!

my point is what you dont know CAN hurt you.....

[Note: any one foolish enough to use these very materials that i listed should call a suicide hot line]

Vidi, veni, visa....I came, I saw, I did a little shopping....

AnonymousPLATINUM Member

Written by: Paradox Equation

I myself have just started spinning fire, and this thread angers me.

What is this XXXX? Am I to fall prey to some dangerous substance merely because a moderator decides to perpetuate forced ignorance?

This is dangerous. Why does the government and education system do such things as lecture on the effects of alcohol, unsafe sex, pregnancy, addiction to dangerous drugs, etc? To try to make kids do all these things more? NO.


Sorry but I just had to add some off-topic "fuel to the flame" eek

Even the government does not disclose all dangerous drugs to the student education system. It is for a fact in the UK the use of a certain drug skyrocketed after students where fully educated on it's availability. As I don't expect a person to use the fuel mentioned because it is more dangerous, I felt a need to correct the above statement.

Fore mostly the quote above is slightly different the topic you are discussing; Alcohol, drugs, etc. that is lectured in schools is not the most dangerous substance you could find but is the most popular. You could say this is a double-edged sword, by educating you are also publicising.

I believe the use of the mentioned fuel should have some warning here on HoP in the sense that people think we use either meths or... well you guessed it. It's the public’s most common question and it just happens that these are the most popular fuels that come to mind.

Although I cannot see why people steer away from the common fuels. I would think it is common knowledge (here on HoP) of the safer fuels. I can't see why you would ever have to use something else than the safer fuels mentioned over and over. Kevlar rope (mentioned earlier) is a great alternative to using straight fuel.

On my final note (which relates to the first statement): anyone that stumbles across this forum that hasn't been taught basic poi, etc. with any type of fuel as a high-risk of hospitalisation. It may be higher with other fuels but it comes down to common sense, If a person thinks they can (without any practise) ignite something and twirl it without being burnt, well...

If anyone has any questions on the subject of drugs, I am a core member of a Drug strategy program; feel free to PM me. hug

Matthew O'Keyes

FlamingOberonGOLD Member
ohm mani padme hum
134 posts
Location: Worcester, MA, USA

as far as transfer issues go...

1. i have hit myself numerous times with lit poi and staff using colemans white gas, and you do not always transfer. actually, you usually dont transfer, especially if youre about 20 seconds into your burn or more. Fore instance, the last performance my troupe did, we has a poi/staff combo piece, and the poi went first, then they faded into the background as the staff folk took center stage, and then we did a routine with all of us. while we (poi) were in the background, we just did the pornstar over and over again... that is our name for the move... it is a basic thigh wrap, left poi left thigh, right poi right thigh, witih a pelvic thrust at the same time, and you do it first from the front and then the back, giving a good hump each time... and we did that for about 30 seconds straight and we never caught fire once. never mind the countless other wraps i do, with poi and snakes and very rarely catch fire. and, like teejay said, if you do, which may happen at the beginning of your burn, if it is your clothing and you have wet it beforehand, it will go out on its own. if it is your skin or clothing and you have not wet it before hand, a gentle pat and it is out.

2. transfers are cool! im sorry. but lighting one end of a staff, grabbing the other end, and lighting your had, transfering, and then blowing out your hand, is cool. it is DANGEROUS and i admit that but it is pretty safe if done under proper supervision. i have seen more than one fire knife dance video where they do cool transfers...there is a thread in the vid section with a fire knife dancer, and though i am not sure if he does one, within that thread there is a link to a cirque du soleil clip from alegria where there is a fireknife dance, where he touches the unlit wick to his thigh (as he is one one knee) and ignites the other end of the knife with the resulting transfer.

fuel transfer is not that big of a concern, and can be used for cool effects, as long as the performer is well aware of the properties of the fuel before dancing (aka, i always dance with colemans and i know the risks that involves. the few times i have used lamp oil, i uderstood the risks involved there. everyone who does this artform should do their best to learn about all the different fuels and how they will effect your dance and your safety, and these boards are the best place to do that).


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