How It Works

How do fire breathers not burn themselves?

Preparation is key to the art of fire breathing and only through keeping safety in mind at all times can even the most gifted fire breather perform uninjured. To do this artists focus on three main things: fuel type, technique and wind direction. The first is arguably the most important factor, as if a fuel with a low flash point is chosen (such as alcohol) then it becomes incredibly difficult to control the resulting flame, as the substance will be highly volatile at low temperatures. Instead, artists will use a substance like paraffin, which has a relatively safe flash point. Secondly, artists will have honed their technique of inhaling the substance, adding a small amount of it in liquid form to their mouth and then breathing in the resulting vapour/liquid over their energy source (usually a lit torch). Thirdly, fire breathers will always take note of wind direction at all times in order to remove the possibility of having the resultant flame blown back over them.