What is a fuel geyser?

It is the forceful expulsion of fuel in vapor and liquid form due to the rapid depressurization of the fuel tank. It is similar to a BLEVE, Boiling Liquid Expanding Vapor Explosion.

What does a fuel geyser look like?

Why is this important to me?

Over the last two years three significant burn injuries have occurred on prescribed fire and wildland fire incidents. Many additional fuel geyser incidents have been reported. These events happen frequently and have the potential to harm users of power equipment and people refueling power equipment. If you experience or have experienced a fuel geyser please report it HERE.

The following reports contain incidents where fuel geysers have occurred.

What do I need to know to protect myself?

Fuel geysers can happen anytime when there is fuel, heat & pressure from small gasoline-powered engines, chainsaws, leaf blowers, portable pumps, even when opening fuel transport containers. 

Fuel geysers have resulted in injury when sprayed fuel and vapor ignite.

Appropriate precautions when there is fuel, heat & pressure, may prevent significant burns in the event of fuel spray.  

  • Always assume fuel tanks and fuel containers are pressurized. 
  • Ensure the cap is correctly secured.
  • Always check fuel levels before opening the fuel tank or filler cap. Fuel levels greater than ½ tank may geyser. 
  • Open cap slowly and if able, direct potential spray away.
  • Cover the cap with a rag to contain potential fuel geyser spray.
  • Always check fuel levels before opening a fuel cap.
  • Be extra vigilant when equipment is running poorly with fuel levels above ½ tank.  
  • Move at least 20 feet or more from any heat source.  
  • Start the saw at least 10 feet from the fueling area.
  • Do not use fuel older than one month.  
IMPORTANT: Stihl Chainsaws have additional procedures for mitigating tank pressurization or "vapor lock" which are symptoms of potential fuel geysers.
  1. Do not open the tank if Stihl saw is running poorly and "vapor lock" is suspected.
  2. Check fuel level; if the tank is over 1/2 full DO NOT open the tank.
  3. Close choke; Pull starter rope 20 times or until the saw fires.
  4. Once the saw fires; Place choke lever in starting position.
  5. Pull starter rope 10 times or until saw starts.
  6. If the saw does not start; Discontinue use. Let the saw cool completely. DO NOT open the tank.
  7. Once the saw is cool, start this process over.
It’s YOUR job to protect yourself and others. Know how to handle your equipment to avoid fuel geysers anytime there is fuel, heat & pressure.

What should I do If I experience a fuel geyser?

Please REPORT every fuel geyser incident you experience!

The information you provide our engineers can mean the difference between one of our employees getting injured or not.

To report an incident go to http://bit.ly/2rNOI5Z.