All clothing is combustible meaning it will burn...all clothing fabric, even the firefighters bunker gear that we wear into fires will burn. It is considered a class "A" combustible and will burn, how easily it will ignite and how fast it will burn determines its flame resistance. Wool and cotton are the somewhat safer than a polyester blend. Cotton will burn, it is a class "A" combustible and has an auto ignition temperature around 750 degrees Fahrenheit (visible flame temperatures are 1000 degrees). As cotton burns it flakes and falls apart, similar to like a piece of paper would burn (not the same but similar). So it tends to fall off the body as it burns away, the skin will still burn and be damaged to different degrees of burns. Please Stop, Drop, and Roll immediately when clothing catches fire while covering and protecting your face...NEVER, NEVER, NEVER run and scream, that will only cause your clothing and skin too burn faster and hotter. Polyester blends and nylons burn faster and at lower ignition temperatures (around 350 to 400 degrees Fahrenheit) and tend to flame and melt as they burn, similar to thin plastic or candle wax (not the same but similar). Hence these fabrics are much less safer than cotton because it is going to melt and stick to your skin when it burns and will burn the skin longer and deeper as it burns and melts into the skin. It has to be pulled, peeled and cut from the skin in the burn unit at the hospital...lots more skin damage and pain from polyester blends than cotton.
The poly blends do last longer, maintain color longer (haven't really seen one fade yet, they seem to wear out before fading) and most folks like the feel better and say the clothing is cooler (temperature wise) than cotton. Our fire department changed from cotton to poly blends for the same reason as stated in the news article. For the life of me I do not understand how the chiefs allowed this but they did. I have always and will always where cotton underwear, socks and t-shirts with my duty clothing, if I ever get burned I do not want melted fabric making my burns worse.
Now for my thoughts on the YouTube video...hogwash! That was all Hollywood. Those pants had to have been pre-soaked in a flammable liquid so as to be off gassing for that flame action, or more likely had a flammable gas being pumped into them right before he put the match to them. Class "A" combustibles in solid matter form (dust can be a different story) do not flash like that ever! Catch fire and have quick flame spread yes, but not flash fire and almost explode. Flammable gas flashes like that not combustibles. Really look at the flame flash across the grass, it is a very good distance, actually goes off camera, that is how far the gas had spread before he lite the pants. Also it has such a whoosh in the flash it causes the pant legs to move. He almost messed up letting too much gas in the pants. It really presents like propane was being used to fill the pants or a similar gas slightly heavier than air. Did you notice how far away he was when lighting the shirt, he was nervous the flammable gas being put in the pants was going to flash right then, he was actually lucky it did not, and then how far he stayed away walking to the pants he was worried the shirt was going to catch the gas on fire, but the pants held it in except that gas along the ground level, then how far away he was on the pants he actually has his head turned, he new the gas was going to flash. My guess was propane or maybe acetylene. Again, that was a flammable gas flash fire plain and simple. Also look through the flames, you can actually see how the fabric is burning, slowly and turning black. He puts the flames out before all the gas was burned up in order to not let you see just the fabric from the pants burning. If you really need to see for yourself that your pants will not flash fire on you, please take an old pair and place them outside away from all other combustibles and put a match to them...I can assure you that you will not be as impressed as the pants in the video...but rather boring in comparison. Maybe even video it and put it on YouTube and then link to this thread.
This is comparable to Hollywood car crashes...they all end up in a spectacular explosion and to make it even more exciting it is always after the hero pulls the victim out and just gets far enough away to not be killed but knocked (dive in spectacular fashion) to the ground as the explosion erupts behind them. Cars do not explode, they do not. Burn they do, lots of flame and even more black thick smoke. In a crash, fuel lines can be broken and the fuel can and will catch fire from the hot engine or exhaust pipes, or catalytic converters and such and fire starts. Flame will normally spread from the engine compartment to the passenger compartment to the trunk area over time of a few minutes sometimes longer, if by chance the fuel tank gets too hot and ruptures it will poof and creat a larger fire ball and more intense fire will happen as the gas burns off but it will not explode. That is Hollywood, which unfortunately will cause people (almost all people) to believe they are going to explode. I guess they would,if like Hollywood they drove around with a few extra hundred gallons of gasoline stored in plastic jugs and rigged to explosives.
Recently we responded to a car wreck, a robbery, stolen car, police chase with speeds over 100 mph and the end result is the car got air born at a rail road crossing crashing into some trees and crunching. The engine compartment started to flame, small fire. As the fire engine and ambulance arrived we were warned by the police officers, that were all hyped up by the chase, to watch out that the car was going to explode...goodness, just had to shake the head as we approached to remove the unconscious passengers and put the fire out...no earth shattering kaboom ever happened, just fire and smoke. Now a different story is the tires, they will pop when heated and burning and will scare the pee right out of you. I am talking a very loud pop, even when you know it is going to happen it will scare the pee out you each and every time. Lol
Dress safe...don't soak you clothes in flammable liquids or pump them full of a flammable gas...and always, stop, drop and roll if your clothing catches fire.