TIME viral

Dear Teens: Please Stop Lighting Yourselves on Fire

Mark Weiss—Getty Images

The newest viral video trend is literally on fire

Trends change with the seasons, and for America’s Internet-addled teens, there is nothing more trendy than melting skin. Now that the season for tossing boiling water into sub-zero air is far behind us, listless teens have found new ways to critically burn themselves. Betraying a nostalgia for simpler times, some of today’s young adults have returned to the most reliable route to injury in the name of YouTube infamy: dousing your body in accelerant and just straight up lighting yourself on fire.

The Daily Dot reports that videos of teens purposefully engulfing themselves in flames are spreading like wildfire across social media platforms like Vine and YouTube. One Kentucky teen whose video went viral even had to be treated for second-degree burns to his torso.

It is scientifically proven that hormones are extremely flammable even without the help of lighter fluid. This is why it is absolutely crucial for teens to stay away from anything that poses a fire hazard, such as matchbooks or a bag of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos.

So, kiddos, please step away from the lighter fluid or I will use it to burn this One Direction poster, and you wouldn’t want that now, would you?

TIME weather

California Firefighters Battle ‘Sand Fire’ Blaze

Around 1,500 firefighters in Northern California were trying to contain the Sand Fire Sunday, officials said. The blaze has so far destroyed at least 10 homes and forced hundreds to evacuate

TIME Bizarre

Glass Door Knob Starts a House Fire Because Everything Is Terrible

Getty Images


One of the most benign, mundane objects of all time — a doorknob — is being blamed for causing a fire that destroyed part of a bedroom in a home in London.

Because the glass knob was in direct sunlight, it refracted rays onto a nearby robe, which then caught fire, the London Fire Brigade explained in a release. The house was empty at the time and no one was injured, but the room did withstand considerable damage.

Luckily, builders working next door eventually heard the fire alarm before the blaze could spread to the rest of the house. They alerted authorities, who identified the crystal doorknob as the catalyst.

“The focal length from the window was just the right distance and it became the same principle as when you try to set fire to paper with a magnifying glass when you are a child,” Charlie Pugsley, of the London Fire Brigade’s investigations unit, told The Telegraph.

So let this be a lesson: doorknobs are not so benign after all.

TIME housing

WATCH: House Teetering Over 75-foot Cliff Burned Down on Purpose

The roof is on fire


A $700,000 house perched atop a 75-foot cliff over Lake Whitney in central Texas has been reduced to ashes — intentionally.

Portions of the 4,000 square-foot building began to crumble into the lake when parts of the cliff were destroyed in a landslide. Authorities ruled out options such as pulling the house back with a net and letting it fall into the lake by itself because of safety and cost issues. They deemed setting the house ablaze the cheapest and safest option.

The house began to burn down at 10:00 AM local time.

TIME viral

Watch: Off-Duty Cop Rescues Man From Burning Car

Surveillance video shows the police officer dragging the driver to safety


Surveillance footage from a White Plains, NY gas station last Tuesday shows a car crashing into a gas pump, causing flames to erupt.

Fortunately, an off-duty police officer was at the gas station at the same time. John Vescio, a New York State Police senior investigator, sprang to action and pulled the elderly driver from the crashed car to safety. The 69-year-old driver was apparently suffering from a diabetic episode and had been trapped inside his car.

Both escaped with minor injuries, and Vescio told The Journal News he planned on visiting the driver his first day back on duty.

TIME weather

Thousands May Have to Flee as Arizona Wildfire Explodes in Size

Arizona Wild Fire
The Slide Fire burns near 89 A south of Flagstaff, Arizona on May 21, 2014. Tom Tingle—Arizona Republic/AP

The blaze has raised concerns of a devastating wildfire season amid a drought that has left the woods particularly vulnerable.

Authorities in Arizona have warned that thousands of people may have to evacuate their homes on Thursday after a wildfire rapidly expanded near Flagstaff.

Nearly 4,500 acres between Flagstaff and Sedona are now in flames after a wildfire grew roughly 10 times in size over a 24-hour period, AZCentral.com reports. Approximately 500 firefighters are battling the blaze, but erratic winds have grounded fire-fighting aircraft, hampering response efforts.

“Everything’s kind of going against us,” Bob Orrill, a liaison officer for a response team told residents, according to AZCentral.com.

The blaze has raised concerns of a devastating wildfire season amid a drought that has left Arizona’s wooded areas particularly vulnerable. It also comes less than a year after a fire in nearby Prescott killed 19 Hotshot firefighters.


Watch a Flaming School Bus Just Miss a Firetruck

No one was injured


A Minneapolis school bus burst into flames Tuesday afternoon and tried to take a firetruck with it. The blazing bus began rolling towards a parked firetruck on the scene and got within a foot of the vehicle before a fireman deftly backed the truck up out of the way and the bus rolled down into a ditch. Luckily, there were no children on the bus at the time of the fire and the bus driver made it out unharmed. The cause of the fire is currently under investigation.

TIME fire

I Fight Wildfires. This Is What It’s Really Like

California wild fire
A firefighter on structure defense duty watches flames in San Marcos, San Diego county on May 14, 2014. Stuart Palley—EPA

As fires continue to rage through San Diego County, causing evacuations to thousands of homes, San Mateo fire captain Matt Turturici talks about his 24 years as a blaze combatant, and how urban sprawl has made the landscape a more dangerous place

I’ve been a firefighter in California for 24 years. I started my career up north where wildfires like the ones now burning in Carlsbad in San Diego County are not uncommon. As more people have moved into interface areas — where the edges of forests and grasslands meet urban sprawl — wildfires have gotten more dangerous. Before, fires used to just burn and die out in the wilderness. Now many homes simply become kindling. Fire can’t distinguish between the two. This is what fighting them is like.

We call fires like these campaign fires. Usually they have a name and are well established by the time a request for aid comes from the California Office of Emergency Services. Often the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, or Cal Fire, runs the response. It’s not necessarily the fact that there’s one big fire in Carlsbad or near Yosemite or Los Angeles County. When state resources get drawn down from fighting multiple fires, that’s when they start tapping into local resources. Cal Fire will request your help as a strike team, which consists of five fire engines with four firefighters each, a battalion chief and an aide, who is usually training to become a chief. Cal Fire crews typically work 24-hour shifts on the fire line and come back off the line for 24 hours. Then they start again.

The amount of preparation that goes into organizing and deploying strike teams is equivalent to fighting a war. You arrive at base camp, check in and are assigned to a division. You’re told: This is the radio channel you’re working on, this is where the fire is moving, this is what the wind and weather are doing, and these are the objectives for your engine company — for example, defend the houses on this block. Sometimes you have to do structural triage; you have to do the greatest good for the greatest number of people. Nobody wants to walk away from a house that’s burning, and we typically don’t.

As the fire approaches, it can become surreal because of the way the smoke filters sunlight. It feels like you’re on a different planet. It can be eerie. The wall of flames can reach 20 to 150 ft. depending on what’s burning and move very quickly. When the fire’s moving, it can sound like a freight train. When you’re in a situation where houses are really starting to get hit, you can hear tires exploding or propane tanks blowing off. Especially seeing the results afterward, seeing stuff burned to white ash when there’s no remnant of what was there before, can be strange. It’s like Chernobyl; it’s just gone.

You also find yourself at the mercy of the weather. One wind shift and you’re in trouble, potentially. Campaign fires often create their own weather, so you have to pay attention to the clouds if you can see them. You have to know where the wind normally blows compared with how much the wind is blowing that day. Your situational awareness has to be acute. You’re responsible for your guys; a critical error can get them in trouble. You’re constantly asking yourself: Are you in a good spot? Can we get out of here? If we can’t get out of here, where can we regroup? If you’ve come off the line and come back on, knowing how destructive a fire has already been can also put you on edge.

Then there’s the fire shelter. That’s the most dire situation you can find yourself in. It’s the decision. It’s pushing the button. It’s pulling the pin. It’s what you choose when you have no other options. And it’s not even a guarantee of safety. You have to scratch yourself out a wide spot and the shelter has to be deployed in less than a minute. You deploy it so your feet are pointed toward where the fire is coming. Everyone is in body contact with one another. It can get very quiet among the crew in that moment. You ride it out together.

Fighting fires like these has changed over the years. There’ve been changes to our equipment. There’ve been changes to operations. And there’ve been advances in using computers to forecast fire travel and position ground and aircraft support, which is crucial. Technology will always try to keep up, but there’s a tremendous human element. Ultimately, technology can help, but it can’t think for the guys on the ground.

Turturici is a fire captain in the city of San Mateo, Calif. He was deployed to the 2013 Rim Fire in Yosemite.

TIME Disaster

California Wildfires Still Raging After Burning Homes

The latest wildfire that broke out in Carlsbad on Wednesday is one of several fires dotting Southern California. At least 30 homes were engulfed in flames, causing thousands of evacuations, including from Legoland, the popular amusement park

Updated: May 15, 2014, 7:30 a.m. E.T.

Wildfires whipped along by blustering winds during a massive drought have burned at least 30 homes and forced thousands to flee in southern California, where several blazes continue to burn as of Thursday morning.

At least 15,000 people have been ordered to evacuate their homes in Carlsbad, California, among the towns hardest hit by the wildfires. The Carlsbad fires also forced park officials on Wednesday to shut down Legoland, a local LEGO-themed amusement park.

Cal State San Marcos, a San Diego County college with approximately 10,000 students, and Camp Pendleton, an area Marine Corps base, have also been evacuated.

California Governor Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency late Wednesday after local county officials urged him to do so as firefighting resources ran thin in the face of spreading fires.

The cause of the fires is not known, but officials say temperatures reaching into the 100s and the ongoing drought in the region make the area ripe for wildfires.

Two firefighters have been injured fighting the blazes, one with a heat-related injury and another due to smoke inhalation.

[LA Times]

TIME weather

Wildfire Rages Near San Diego

California officials have battled double the average number of blazes so far this year. This latest fire spurred the evacuation of 20,000 homes in and around San Diego

Your browser, Internet Explorer 8 or below, is out of date. It has known security flaws and may not display all features of this and other websites.

Learn how to update your browser

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 46,529 other followers