Drip Torch Leg Burns

By Travis Dotson


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It happens often.  Second and third degree burns on the calf associated with using a drip torch.  Thats all.  Just letting you know.  You are now armed with awareness.

Is that all?  Did the Lessons Learned Center just do it’s job?  Think it will work?

Of course we get leg burns from drip torches!  We’re slinging gasoline around hot stuff right next to our legs…it’s gonna happen.  What’s amazing is how good we are at NOT catching ourselves on fire.  We scramble across crazy complex terrain with stupid heavy packs while carrying an unwieldy hand tool in addition to the 15-pound fire maker with a pig-tail brush catcher – that’s a great recipe for self-ignition!

So if we know that, what can you do to increase the odds of not being the person in the burn unit?

Listen to this 7 minute podcast:


Now what?

Talk about it.

4 thoughts on “Drip Torch Leg Burns

  1. My nomex pants caught on fire in New Mexico while working on an ignition crew in October 2016. After several days of burning, my pants had become soaked with drip torch fuel and became involved despite that the fabric is fire retardant. I had received information from our burn boss during briefing about not smothering pants on fire with a flat gloved hand because the fuel can continue to burn, causing the heat to be pressed into your skin, potentially resulting in a more severe burn. He recommended grabbing your pants and pulling them away from your leg to extinguish. I did this when my pants caught on fire was not burned as a result. I also realized that wearing clean pants as often as possible would help reduce the amount of fuel available to combust in the event of self-ignition.

  2. Pingback: Who Mixed the Fuel? | Wildland Fire Lessons Learned Center

  3. Pingback: Ground Ignition Equipment Standards? | Wildland Fire Lessons Learned Center

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