Science, Tech, Math › Science Red Fire Instructions Make Red Flames Share Flipboard Email Print The red of this flare comes from the emission spectrum of strontium salts. Maarten Wouters, Getty Images Science Chemistry Projects & Experiments Basics Chemical Laws Molecules Periodic Table Scientific Method Biochemistry Physical Chemistry Medical Chemistry Chemistry In Everyday Life Famous Chemists Activities for Kids Abbreviations & Acronyms Biology Physics Geology Astronomy Weather & Climate By Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D. Chemistry Expert Ph.D., Biomedical Sciences, University of Tennessee at Knoxville B.A., Physics and Mathematics, Hastings College Dr. Helmenstine holds a Ph.D. in biomedical sciences and is a science writer, educator, and consultant. She has taught science courses at the high school, college, and graduate levels. our editorial process Facebook Facebook Twitter Twitter Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D. Updated February 05, 2020 Ordinary flames usually burn in shades of orange, yellow, or blue, depending on the fuel? Have you ever wanted to make red fire? The key is to add a chemical to the fuel that produces the color red. This works in much the same ways as the flame test. For red, you want to use a salt that contains the element strontium. The most readily available source of a strontium salt is an emergency road flare. Road flares contain strontium nitrate in addition to other ingredients (potassium nitrate or potassium perchlorate, sawdust, charcoal, maybe some sulfur, magnesium, or aluminum). Strontium salts burn bright red. Obtaining Strontium Salts If you want to make red fire and aren't in a position to order strontium salts it's easy to harvest material from a road flare. Here's what you do: Take a pocket knife or steak knife and carefully cut open the cardboard tube of the flare.Pour the powder into a bowl or jar.You can sprinkle this powder sparingly onto a campfire or fireplace fire.You can store unused powder in a paper bag. Keep it dry, but away from heat and flame. How to Create the Fire Alternatively, you can ignite the powder directly. Put about a tablespoon of powder onto a fire-proof surface. Pour a little accelerant onto the base of your powder (try Heet, which is methanol). Light the accelerant. If you are using methanol, it will burn out and the powder will begin to burn. The flame will be very bright. You may wish to cut the mixture with powdered sugar or charcoal before lighting it.