It’s Not a Flame Thrower: New Fire Art Regulations in California

If you are a fire artist in California, you might be interested in this change to the fire regulations that is coming up. This message comes from Dave X on the Flaming Lotus Girls mailing list with his consent to republish:

There has been concern among the Fire Arts community recently regarding the Additions to Title 19 Chapter 6.5 involving Flame Throwing Devices.

First a little background. This issue came about as the ATF (Alcohol Tobacco And Firearms) was attending a gun show in CA and found fully functional Flame Throwers for sale. These devices for sale at the gun shows were not “Guns” and not covered by any kind of background checks, waiting period, or age requirements.  This would have allowed Timmy terrorist or Sammy seven year old to buy it right off the table. With the intention of closing this loophole a group was formed to decide how to regulate the issue.

The Flame Throwing Device Work Group was formed by the CA State Fire Marshal’s Office.

The group was composed of members of the Department of Justice, ATF, State Fire Authorities as well as folks from the Special Effects industry and folks who are contracted to do fire prevention and suppression for the CA Fire Service. Clearly there were a lot of uses for flame throwing devices in such applications as setting preventative burns as well as in the film and entertainment industries. Early on Kevin Mathieu and I did sit on the group meetings and helped craft wording to protect the interests of the fire arts community. In the end I left the group feeling good about what was finally written. As with most states it was immediately covered in red tape and passed from lawyer to lawyer. Well here it is it is finally about to come into law and the public commentary period is open.

This law will not affect 99% of the fire arts community…

Lets take a look at it…

I emailed Diane Arend this week at the Office of the CA. State Fire Marshal Code Development and Analysis. She has reviewed this and agreed that this interpretation appeared consistent with the regulation.

Flame throwing Device: For the purpose of clarification, Health and Safety Code Section 12750(a) is repeated “Flame Throwing Device” means any non-stationary and transportable device designed or intended to emit or propel a burning stream of combustible or flammable liquid a distance of at least 10 feet.

First off this is only in effect in California…

If you are using these in Nevada it is not an issue. There may be some gray area as to its storage in CA.

This does not impact propane effects as it states, “Intended to emit or propel a burning stream of combustible or flammable liquid a distance of at least 10 feet”. Propane is in most cases used as a gas and not as a liquid. Even in effects where liquid propane is used it is for the most part completely turned to a gas before reaching 10 feet.

Liquid fueled effects usually describes a situation in which there are separate fuel tanks, hosing, controls and other attached gear which are “Not Portable”.  When set up, this is a considered a stationary effect.

If the supply tanks and operational controls were attached and able to operate in a mobile fashion it WOULD be a Flame Thrower…

OK so what if you have a device that is a “non-stationary and transportable device designed or intended to emit or propel a burning stream of combustible or flammable liquid a distance of at least 10 feet.” and you intend to display it in CA?

You can apply for this permit…

First off this is a big deal you must pass background checks, have a secure by state definition safe storage area, transport it in a secured manner as well as a surrender of you rights to search and seizure. You must also keep records on the use storage and sale or destruction of said device.

Unless you feel strongly that this regulation applies to you and you plan to operate it in California I would not apply!

You can apply for this permit…

First off this is a big deal you must pass background checks, have a secure by state definition safe storage area, transport it in a secured manner as well as a surrender of you rights to search and seizure. You must also keep records on the use storage and sale or destruction of said device.

Unless you feel strongly that this regulation applies to you and you plan to operate it in California I would not apply!

I talked to Matisse Enzer form the Flame Thrower Shooting Gallery project and as the name implies it IS a Flame Thrower.

He went through the application and he had this to say about how he got one:

The application process goes like this:

You need to get a Certificate of Eligibility from the California Department of Justice. This is an annually renewable certification that you are eligible to own firearms. It involves getting fingerprinted. This will cost a couple hundred bucks the first time and $20 or $25/year to renew.

<http://ag.ca.gov/firearms/forms/pdf/coeapp.pdf>

You will need to fill in the application form and describe the flame throwing devices that you have. The rules have not yet been finalized, but the application form I filled out in 2008 was pretty much the same as the proposed form.

Links to the proposed rules and associated forms:

<http://osfm.fire.ca.gov/codedevelopment/codedevelopment_title19development.php>

For example, the proposed new rules are:

<http://osfm.fire.ca.gov/codedevelopment/pdf/title19/FFDet.pdf>

The proposed application form is:

<http://osfm.fire.ca.gov/codedevelopment/pdf/title19/formft1.pdf>

Note especially the storage requirements: They are much stricter than for a handgun or rifle.

To summarize, please remember a word like “Flame Thrower” is not to be used lightly.

For the most part what we are talking about with fire arts is the use of “open flame and flame effects”. I hope this provides some clarification and that you all burn hard and burn safely…

5 Comments

  1. alkymist says:

    So would anything shooting fire more then 10′ be illegal? Would Remote controlled robots shooting fire be a flame thrower and need to be registered?
    How about not living there and coming for a show. I have no California address and usually travel with an open trailer, would I now need to have an enclosed trailer?

  2. Tom Gurney says:

    It is a shame that health and safety have to try to ruin everything! If there’s less danger or these artists may have to try something else.

  3. Konferens says:

    I think it was released in May 2001 by the National Fire Protection Association, and new regulations from the California Occupational Safety and Health Administration (Cal-OSHA), urban firefighting companies must have at least four firefighters on the scene of a blaze before a minimum of two firefighters can enter a burning structure to perform search and rescue operations.

  4. Bart simpson says:

    It’s too bad that almost all of the
    Fun stuff is always illegal in states
    Like kommyfornia. Figures too many damn
    Liberals in office in THE GOLDEN SHOWER STATE.

  5. lee says:

    Bart, I think this is a very positive law. It allows fire artists to continue to make things and restricts very dangerous weapons to those with a permit. The Second Amendment concern isn’t very strong because flame throwers are not generally the kind of weapon militiamen are clamoring to get.

Leave a Comment

Do not write "http://" in your comment, it will be blocked. It may take a few days for me to manually approve your first comment.

You can edit your comment after submitting it.