Fire challenge

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Fire challenge is an activity which refers to the application of flammable liquids to one's body and then setting the liquids aflame, while being video recorded. The footage is then posted to social media sites.[1][2][3][4] Firefighters, police officers and media sources have criticized and spoken out against the activity, hoping to dissuade individuals from trying it due to its harmful nature.[5][6][7] The first known fire challenge video was uploaded in 2012.[8] The activity gained mainstream media attention in 2014.


Immediate first through second degree burns are the direct results of undergoing the activity.[7][9] One teenager from Kentucky who participated in the challenge described the subsequent pain as "unbearable."[10][11]

In addition to the obvious dangers, many participants run away in panic without dousing the flames first, allowing the oxygen to cause the flames to spread more easily.[12] Another immediate danger is the participants inhaling superheated air, which can then damage the lungs.[12]


The Huffington Post, in response to viewing a video of a youth attempting the challenge:

"We're basically speechless. We hang out with guys who eat lightbulbs, and we're still shocked. Granted, those guys are trained professional performers, where as this appears to be a misguided youth. The scariest part is that he's not the only person who is doing this."

Writing for the Washington Post, Caitlin Dewey noted "YouTube has known its fair share of dangerous, destructive and ill-advised trends, but even by those standards, the "fire challenge" hits new lows."[13]

Multiple local and state fire departments have spoken out against the fire challenge, often citing the significant harm and the unpredictability of fire for their reasoning.[14][15][16]


  1. ^ "Colorado Fire Officials Warn About Teens Taking The 'Fire Challenge' « CBS Denver". Retrieved 2014-08-03.
  2. ^ "11-year-old boy set himself on fire in 'fire challenge' game | News - Home". 2014-07-22. Retrieved 2014-08-03.
  3. ^ Smith, Jessica (2014-03-09). "Dangerous 'fire challenge' game spreads online". Wish-Tv. Retrieved 2014-08-03.
  4. ^ Emery, Sean (Aug 1, 2014). "Santa Ana teen hospitalized after he takes the 'fire challenge'". Orange County Register. Retrieved 2 August 2014.
  5. ^ ""Fire challenge" spreads to Rochester". 2014-02-08. Archived from the original on 2014-08-11. Retrieved 2014-08-03.
  6. ^ CBS/AP (August 2, 2014). "California teen severely burned attempting "fire challenge"". CBS News. Retrieved 2014-08-03.
  7. ^ a b "Boy, 11, released from hospital after playing 'fire challenge' | News - Home". 2014-07-22. Retrieved 2014-08-03.
  8. ^ "Fire Challenge: Do Not Try This At Home!". 26 July 2014. Retrieved 8 November 2016.
  9. ^ Jauregui, Andres (2014-07-30). "What The Hell Is A 'Fire Challenge,' And How Could It Not Go Horribly Wrong?". Retrieved 2014-08-03.
  10. ^ Mills, Heather (August 1, 2014). "Colorado fire officials issue warning about 'fire challenge'". Retrieved 2014-08-03.
  11. ^ "Fla. Kid Suffers 2nd & 3rd Degree Burns from "Fire Challenge" | NBC 6 South Florida". Retrieved 2014-08-03.
  12. ^ a b Collins, Jeffery. "Police: Mom Helped Son Partake in 'Fire Challenge'". ABC News. Associated Press. Retrieved August 22, 2014.
  13. ^ Dewey, Caitlin. "A comprehensive guide to YouTube's dumbest and most dangerous teen trends". Washington Post. Retrieved August 16, 2014.
  14. ^ Stanley, Deb; Hernandez, Lance. "Colorado fire official warns parents of dangerous and deadly 'Fire Challenge' – 7NEWS Denver". Archived from the original on 2014-08-04. Retrieved 2014-08-03.
  15. ^ Kasper, Marty (2014-07-15). "Officials warn of latest social media challenge – NEWS10 ABC: Albany, New York News, Weather, Sports". Retrieved 2014-08-03.
  16. ^ Knight, Matt (July 31, 2014). "Disturbing videos show teens burning themselves in 'fire challenge'". Retrieved 2014-08-03.