Shooting Range Flash Fire
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This is why good gun range management and maintenance is so important, boys and girls. Unless you enjoy flash fires, of course. Based on the officers’ uniforms, it appears this took place in the city of Aracaju, Brazil.

Take a look (the action starts at about 1:20):

It’s not clear what that mat in front of the shooting positions is for…maybe someone’s bright idea for making it easier to pick up brass.

Now ask yourself this question: how well run is my favorite range?

H/T Ed Head

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  1. My range time is almost exclusively at impromptu outdoor locations where a flash fire — or any fire at all for that matter — is next to impossible. I also shoot at an official outdoor range on occasion and the surrounding concrete and dirt/grass would never catch on fire.

    It has been so long since I have shot at an indoor range that I cannot even remember how they managed (or failed to manage) their range.

    • Here in SoCal, steel core or milsurp ammo is forbidden due to potential of sparking and fires. An RO comes by with a magnet to randomly check your ammo at any time he wishes.

      For handgun, I go to our local outdoor range. For long rifle (shotgun, deer rifle, AR, et al), I go to our favorite spot in the open desert, where for miles there’s nothing but rocks, sand, scrub, and quiet…until I pull the trigger.

      • Nothing but open space and quiet, punctuated by loud bangs and the smell of gunpowder. That’s the only way I’ll ever do it if I have any say in the matter (and fortunately, I do).

  2. I think I see what happened.
    If you view this video fullscreen, at 1:26 you can see the glow of fire appear from *underneath* the floor.
    I think that hot embers from whatever flamethrowing rounds they were shooting, drifted down between the cracks into the basement/crawlspace and ignited whatever combustible material was down there.
    Whatever it was, boy oh boy did it go up like a rocket

    • Unburned powder buildup is a thing. It collects on the ground and when there’s enough of it concentrated, it goes up big and fast. Makes for much drama in an enclosed space.

      • Agreed Bubba, and I would add that the floor boards had a large gap between the wood planks. This was just a matter of time, because of the poor floor construction. At 1;27 the chain reaction begins.

      • And regular, everyday dirt accumulation can be flammable as well. Learned that from the ‘Bonhomme Richard’ Navy fire recently. That’s one of the reason the Navy takes cleaning so seriously. Crap building up during extended maintenance makes for a fire hazard.

        I sure hope that range shut the ventilation system down fast after everyone evacuated…

      • That is the most poorly designed shooting range I have ever seen. All that wood and foam was just asking for a fire.

  3. They didn’t call that fire in Utah Valley this fall the Gun Range fire for nothing. And as with this one, it was a law enforcement only kind of place.

    There was a fire in Utah several years ago started by recreational shooting, and the calls from all the progbots to ban all target shooting were very loud indeed. As somebody who does all his shooting on public lands, that really burned my biscuit. Maybe I just missed it this time around, but I didn’t hear anything at all when it was the government’s fault. Which also kind of burns my biscuits.

    • This type of fire is largely impossible to replicate outdoors, and I say this as someone who grew up in the Nevada desert. This is caused by improper or infrequent cleaning, which allows for unburnt powder to collect over time, which is then ignited by a spark or ember. Most guns don’t shoot embers to this extent, but shotgun rounds are different in that they are low pressure, and depending on how well the shells are loaded (they could be reloaded by the department or remanufactured incorrectly) could have more flash (combustion outside of the chamber/barrel) than they should. I’ve seen a fire at an indoor range, however they cleaned it pretty regularly so it was a small roughly 6″ wide path from end to end of the range, with the fire maybe reaching 1ft or so in height. So in order to have the explosion seen in the video, you’d have to have a ton of unburnt powder on the range, or somehow have the range situation above a storeroom with explosives as noted by another commenter. That rubber matting on the floor likely collected powder over a period of time, and also helped contain the pressure somewhat, allowing for a larger “boom”.

      Desert fires are typically caused by ricochets (especially but not exclusively steel-core ammo) sparking off dry grasses, or prone shooting over try grass causing ignition with muzzle flash, although the pressure is usually high enough that any embers/flash blown into the grass is “blown out” at the same time. Surplus tracer ammo, and binary targets can also start these fires, but are less common. The other thing that causes these fires are vehicles used to get out to your favorite valley in the desert, wherein an errant spark or hot muffler parked over tall grass is enough to ignite a fire. But “off-roader starts fire” doesn’t quite have the same ‘oomph’ as “shooting causes fire” on the local news, so if it’s an off-roader going shooting, and a fire is started, often times the finger is pointed at the gun side of the equation by default.

      • The couple I’m familiar with were started by a binary target and steel-cored ammunition, respectively. Not like this indoor conflagration at all, that is true, but still highly unwelcome. No idea what the police were doing at the Orem Gun Range when they started that fire…

    • Favela has only one ‘l’. Literally, it would be febre de favela, but I’m positive that’s not a Brazilian idiom.

  4. Some day a civilian is going to start a grass fire at an outdoor range. Using tracer ammunition. When I was in the army. We always brought several fire extinguishers with us to the range. Being outdoors means nothing, as far as fires go. You can start an outdoor fire if your not careful at a gun range. And we used those extinguishers more than once in my military career at the range.

    A couple of years ago a Tennessee gun range was burned to the ground. Because stupid gun owners used tracer ammo at an indoor range!!! One of my local ranges burned to the ground last year. There was no explanation why it happened. Its been rebuilt and is back in operation.

    Deep range cleaning is a must.

    • Had a police officer here in oklahoma a few years ago that used tracer at an indoor range that has shredded tires as a backstop. took a while to put that fire out.

      • I’m sure the city refused to pay for the damages or fire the cop. I have faith in god. But very little faith in government.

    • I saw a hillside fire started by a Marine emptying his Garand of tracers into the hillside beside the range, in 1960, believe it or don’t, in Japan! My Dad and I helped put it out! It shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that tracers will start a fire!

  5. Indoor ranges have standards for cleaning every day. There’s lots of unburnt powder that’s on the floor. Every night, hose it down and squeegee it dry.

  6. It’s quite loud at the Article 2 in Lombard ever since they ripped off all that burned cushioning on steel stall dividers.

  7. I dont notice any recoil from those escopettas…….
    Blank rounds.? Tend to drop a few embers….
    The mat was evidently there to hold some sort of accelerant.

  8. There was once a rumored legend about my favorite local Virginia gunshop. Maybe somebody else has heard it, too.

    Seems back in the day, one of two brothers decided he’d smoke in the ammo shack adjacent to the store’s outdoor range. The resulting black powder accident did a number on the ammo shack and the brother. The running joke was whether the store’s name was supposed to be singular or plural. I was a regular there for years and it seemed sorta believable, especially after distancing myself rather quickly from a knothead charging his flintlock smokepole from an open coffee can of black powder while dangling a cig.

    C’mon, man. Darwin has enough winners and too many runners-up for this sh*t. Don’t rig the ballots because it might catch up to you.

  9. At the military range I instructed at as a RSO OIC range control give specific instructions.

    Not to fight any range fires.

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