Elon Musk Nearly Ready to Ship Cool New Forest Fire Starter

Steven K. Doi via ZUMA

Unless, in the end, this turns out to be a joke after all, visionary entrepreneur Elon Musk is getting ready to ship 20,000 flamethrowers to waiting customers next week. It’s not clear why Musk decided to market flamethrowers as “fun” toys for the masses, but that’s how it goes with visionaries. They see things that you and I don’t, and they see around things—brush fires, third-degree burns—that ordinary humans view as obstacles.

But enough about that. The idiocy of this project is pretty obvious, and one of Musk’s flamethrowers will either be responsible for starting a huge forest fire or it won’t. We’ll have to wait and see.

UPDATE: This post originally continued with some stuff about an attempt to ban recreational flamethrowers in California. However, it was based on misreading a quote from Eugene Volokh by 180 degrees. It wasn’t salvageable in any way, so I’ve deleted the whole thing. Apologies to all involved.


Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and the wealthy wouldn't fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2019 demands.

We Recommend


Give a Year of the Truth

at our special holiday rate

just $12

Order Now

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.


We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.