The Cauldron

Site requirements:

Location requirements:  One of us must see the site before we will bring it.

16'x16' level area -- this allows 5' around for spotters to quickly respond to any emergency
Site can support 2500 pounds of weight -- preferably on the ground, cement or asphalt.
Place for the waterpump and hoses -- 20' away
Access to the site that's at least 2.5' wide and 6' tall -- to roll bottom bowl through -- no sharp turns.
Need nearby supply of water [400 gallons] -- eg a garden hose
Let us know if we need to bring *any* of our own hoses.
Within 100' of an electrical outlet for water and fuel pumps -- we can also convert to gas-powered water pump and battery for very isolated places, but we need to know ahead of time.
30A [amps] of power for the water pump -- it will blow a standard 15A breaker
High capacity extension cords, if beyond 100' -- regular ones get too hot
Within 40' of a sewer drain -- or further if you let us know ahead of time.
Time requirements:
3 hours to set up -- preferably the day before, and test-run the night before
Run no longer than 3 hours
2 hours teardown the next day
Other requirements:
Three of our spotters -- more of there's more than 30 people around, esp. if there's alcohol.

Event Insurance -- you must have Event Insurance or take responsibility for the event.

Alcohol: Drinking and fire can be dangerous! We prefer not to run much past 11pm if people are drinking. [It is our experience that the later parties go on, the drunker folks get, and the less they heed our gentle warnings.]


Top bowl: 56" [4'8"] diam, 8" deep
Bottom bowl: Polyethaline bowl, 6' wide, 2.5' tall, with aluminum flashing around to make it tidy.
Height: 3' for the support, plus 8" of top bowl
Fuel: Two 5-gal cans of naptha, with fuel pump and power supply

This will be about 20' away from the fountain proper
Pump: 260 gpm, 15,600 gph  [other pumps I looked at]

Water requirements: Optimum is 400 gallons -- necessary to keep the water cool

Top: 3.14159 x [4'8"/2=2.33']2 x 0.6' = 11.4 ft3 x 8 gal/ft3 = 91.2 gal
Bottom: ~500 gal total, but 200 gallons covers the suction outlet
Daily water top-off: No significant loss at bman99 [kept covered when not in use]
Water disposal: There must be a place to empty 400 gallons of water within 30' of the final placement.  The water is filtered and essentially clear when done.
Further disposal distance can be arranged ahead of time
Fuel requirements: 5 gallons of naptha lasts 2-2.5 hours, depending on the fuel injection configuration.
Power requirements: a dedicated 20amp 110V outlet for water pump and fuel pump -- nothing else can be plugged into it Footprint: 6' round, plus 2'x2' for pump, 20'away, plus space for 2 5-gal cans of fuel

Recent to-scale sketch


Safety measures:

4 full-sized CO2 extinguishers placed multiple places away from fuel but within reach
Fuel is stored away from the fountain and from the pumps
Only 5 gallons are hooked up to the fountain at once
Fuel line has only two breaks:
one within the fountain so fuel is burned off
another to adjust the fuel 15' away from the fountain [away from the flames]
We do not allow folks to approach the fountain until everything is lit properly.
We watch the people constantly while the fountain is lit.
In the end, it is important to realize that fire is dangerous. We keep a realistic attitude about this project. Nothing is perfect, and though it is of the utmost importance to be as safe as possible, we cannot prevent all possible problems.

On a more positive note, the amount of fuel we are using is very small -- 2-3 gallons an hour, which is less than a car. That's only about 10-20 drops of fuel over 17 square feet of surface area at any given time. We have been building and running firefalls since 1999 without incident. Consider it more as a fire-pit using water, rather than a water fountain on fire. :)