A flame ball that burst out over spectators at the Red CentreNats racing event in Alice Springs on Sunday was in excess of 400 degrees Celsius and could have resulted in far worse injuries, a burns specialist says.
Fourteen people were injured after fuel from a competition car on the burn-out pad ignited and shot out over crowds that were only metres away.
"Unfortunately most of the clothing people like to wear — the cottons, linens, things like that — they ignite at about 400 degrees [Celsius]," Dr John Greenwood, who treated four of the burns victims at Royal Adelaide Hospital, said.
"So the temperature of this flame ball would have been well in excess of that."
When clothing ignites, it increases the temperature and duration of the burn.
Dr Greenwood said it was fortunate the event was held on a warm day because spectators were only wearing minimal clothing.
"It could have been absolutely horrendous had everyone been rugged up like they are at sporting events in England," he said.
Group behind event providing support to victims
NT Major Events, which runs the Red CentreNATS, said it was providing travel and accommodation support to the family and friends of those injured.
It is also assisting in the investigation into the event, which is being led by WorkSafe NT.
It comes as social media videos show Sunday's incident was not the only time cars had significant amounts of fire shooting out towards the crowds.
On Saturday, two other vehicles taking part in burnouts had flames erupt from beneath them, prompting an announcer to call for firefighters to extinguish the blaze.
"Motor sports are inherently dangerous," NT Major Events general manager Andrew Hopper said.
"Cars involved in burnouts can lead to fires occurring.
"I think where the crowd was and where that fire was, that will be part of the investigation."
Mr Hopper said he would await the outcome of the investigation before determining what changes might be required for next year's event.