Texas Kid Gets Magnifying Glass for Christmas and Promptly Sets His Lawn on Fire

The parents of 12-year-old Cayden Parson thought he was asking for a magnifying glass for Christmas in order to read better. Unfortunately, the tween had other ideas: He just wanted to set things on fire.

Fox 4 reported that Parson got his gift and took it out to the front yard of his family's McKinney, Texas, home to try to set some newspaper on fire using the winter sun's rays. He was successful but soon learned that fire doesn't always do what you want it to.

Grass fire
A grass fire. photllurg / Getty Images

The newspaper ignited quickly from the focused solar radiation, but the flame from the tinder swiftly jumped onto the Parson home's dry front yard. Cayden and his brothers, who had been helping him, panicked and quickly ran inside to tell their parents.

Nissa-Lynn Parson and husband, Justin, looked out, saw the blaze spreading and jumped into action. Justin turned on the lawn sprinklers while Nissa-Lynn filled buckets and threw blankets over the dying fire before it spread to the neighbors.

Christmas Day was memorable to say the least!🔥My twelve year old son Cayden received a magnifying glass, which we...

Posted by Nissa-Lynn Parson on Thursday, December 26, 2019

Working together, the Parsons were able to douse the blaze, leaving a charred rectangle where their front yard used to be. The only casualties were some melted Christmas lights.

The family took the whole incident in stride, happy that things didn't end up worse.

This wasn't the first accidental magnifying-glass fire in 2019.

In July, Greenfield Patch reported that the fire department was called to a Wisconsin residence after reports of smoke coming from the building. When firefighters entered, they discovered a sofa chair smoking and smoldering.

They extinguished the blaze and moved the furniture outside, then began investigating the source of the fire. Upon searching the room, they found a stand magnifier that had been near the chair. The sun's rays had hit it at the correct angle on that day to focus enough heat on the sofa chair to catch it on fire.

Thankfully, the homeowner was there and able to get help before the blaze spread.

Magnifying glasses convert light to heat by focusing the light rays that pass through the double convex lenses to a single point. The sun delivers around 1,000 watts per square meter on the Earth's surface, and when concentrated, that thermal radiation is equivalent to the small burner on an electric stove.