Is this far enough?
Asking me about the distance of his fireball creation from the spectators.
May 4, 2014
[This what the setup looked like:
It was about 30 yards from the shooting berm where all the spectators were. I said it should be fine. I had never seen any of our fireballs large enough to make that distance be an issue. And this configuration was such that it should make a “wall” of fire rather than a column or ball of fire. Even though it was nearly twice as much fuel as I we had ever used I just couldn’t see it being a problem.
I didn’t think it through.
I was doing the evaluation in regards to the spectators. I didn’t take into account that Ry had parked his pickup, lengthwise, between the spectators and the fireball. They were on the berm and could easily see over it. Ry didn’t move it as he usually did. He had Monte shoot the target probably another 30 feet from the end of the pickup closest to the fireball. This was the approximate distance Ry had set up his video camera and was hovering over when the fireball went off. This was his viewpoint:
From the viewpoint of Art to his right we see this:
Did you see that big blast of fire jetting to the left? That was directly toward Ry and Monte.
I was on the other side and this is my video:
You can see the muzzle of the gun in the video above as the fireball goes up. It disappears as the fireball grows. As the camera pans you can see Ry face down on the ground and Monte still retreating.
I think what happened was that the fuel ignited at the most distant location from the spectators. The expanding gases and increased pressure pushed the unburned fuel toward Monte and Ry. The unburned fuel then ignited as the fuel/air ratio became such that it supported combustion. This burst into the lower pressure air toward Ry and Monte.
I was correct in that it was far enough away from the spectators. But once I made that determination I did not reevaluate for the consideration of the status of Ry and Monte who were MUCH closer.
No one was hurt but it certainly was a lot more intense for them than anyone anticipated.
Here is the email thread between Ry, Monte, and I yesterday morning:
Sent: 5/4/2014 8:12 PM
To: Bill W.; Joe
Any pics/video of the fireball / singed wookie event from this morning? 😉
On 05/05/2014 05:58 AM, Joe Huffman wrote:
From Ry’s Twitter feed:
@RyJones: Boomershoot 2014 fireball. from way too close. https://t.co/XnqbSpQTRu
@RyJones: Boomershoot 2014 fireball different angle: https://t.co/8y650tGLcD that big lobe going left got close
I’ll have more after I get home and have some time.
On May 5, 2014, at 6:35 AM, Monte wrote:
The first one looks kinda like my POV… but with less chunks of smoking debris inbound 😉
From: Ry Jones
Sent: Monday, May 5, 2014 7:33 AM
Cc: Joe Huffman; Bill W.
Subject: Re: fireball
The guys down at RNS had some video that shows both of us deciding to get down out of the impending trip to the burn ward. Hopefully they post it.
After the fireball went up I went to check on Oleg who was about 50 yards the other side of the fireball from me. The first thing he told me was, “I seriously underestimated the size of that with my camera. I got an incredible video though.”
Everyone is okay. I don’t think there were even any actual singed hairs, peeled paint, or scorched canopies.—Joe]
Update: Barron put up a video also: