Campfire Explosion at Finke Desert Race Leaves Six Victorian Men With Severe Burns

Alice Springs, Northern Territory – Six Victorian men suffered severe burns after a campfire explosion during the Finke Desert Race, according to Northern Territory emergency services.

The incident occurred when the group, aged 18 to 23, was camping about 30 kilometers south of Alice Springs on Saturday night. NT Police Acting Superintendent Michael Budge explained that the group had ignited a fire near a shock absorber, which unexpectedly exploded, spraying boiling oil and fluid on the men.

St. John Ambulance promptly transported the victims to Alice Springs Hospital, with two of them later transferred to Melbourne’s Alfred Hospital for specialized care. The remaining three men were taken to the Royal Adelaide Hospital. The director of retrieval services at Alice Springs Hospital, Dan Adams, described the injuries as significant, affecting all exposed skin with varying patterns of burns.

Despite the tragic incident, St. John Ambulance reported a decrease in injuries during the event compared to previous years. Director of ambulance services, Andy Thomas, mentioned that most injuries consisted of fractured limbs, clavicles, and a few pelvis injuries. Notably, there were no major spinal injuries reported for the first time in years.

Safety measures have been reinforced at the Finke Desert Race following a spectator’s death in 2021, including a 30-meter exclusion zone around the track. NT Police noted that the majority of attendees complied with the new regulations, leading to a relatively smooth event from a policing perspective.

Overall, emergency services are investigating the campfire explosion to prevent similar incidents in the future, while also highlighting the importance of adhering to safety protocols at crowded events like the Finke Desert Race.