>>> ...what about the 16oz of water that was sitting above that stove? If that water spills into the alcohol fire, you now have a substantially larger fire transportation system....
Ah, now I think I get where you're coming from, and I suspect that you are making an error in concept. (Or, heck, maybe I'M making an error in concept...) You're thinking that alcohol is immiscible, like a burning gasoline slick. But water and alcohol mix- water is not a "fire transportation system" for alcohol. 16oz of water would dilute the 1oz alcohol to the point that it wouldn't burn; ethanol has to be 170 proof before it will burn. All the safety missives you've heard about not dousing a liquid fire with water were referring to grease or petrochemicals or other such non-water-soluble stuff that floats. Those are after all the most common source of liquid fires in modern experience.
In most environments I'm even sure it isn't a good idea to toss a bucket of water on an alcohol fire for fear of splashing burning droplets. If you turned a fire hose on a swimming pool full of burning alcohol, yes- I suspect that burning alcohol droplets would fly everywhere. But that's not what we're talking about- we're talking about 25mL of alcohol.
Any of the chemical engineers whom I know lurk here- please correct me if I'm wrong. I'm sure some alcohol droplets still would splash, but if mixed with a large amount of water the alcohol wouldn't burn, right? Maybe I'll try some experimentation tonight. Hmm... I'd need to try various alcohols... stop and get some HEET... I already have a decent Everclear stock... hmm...
If you "tap it with your boot" then the spill is small, and the resultant fire easy to control by stomping or, preferably, smothering with a handful of dirt. Where the alky stove becomes a real hazard is only the spill I described- a firm blow sending droplets over a wide area. Well, that and the inherent hazards of invisible flames, which I have admitted is a much more valid criticism. That's why I would recommend against them for anyone who is not familiar with alky stoves.
Also, I would propose that a shoe that has been doused with alcohol and set alight is different than one that has stomped on some burning dirt (i.e. using just the sole). Again, I've done this. The stopming out spilled alcohol that is, not the juvenile antics with burning shoes. I'm sure I've done things that were equally harebrained, but not that in particular. :) I have definitely spilled alcohol then set it alight before I really got my stove-fueling technique down, and always easily doused it. Also, while I have certainly bumped my alky stoves I have never actually tipped one over- they kind of have a low center of gravity.
And, Brother, I definitely put those fires out. Gimme a little credit, here... :)
To repeat- I'm not saying that alky stoves don't have their safety issues. I'm just saying that if they are any more dangerous than canister stoves that it is a trivial difference for anyone who takes the most rudimentary and widely-known common-sense precautions, so decrying alky stoves as "too dangerous" is disingenuous. If you personally have had a bad experience and thus tend to avoid them- fine- more power to you. I can hardly be critical- I don't do bariatric surgery because of one empiric bad outcome that I had in the past, even though I can look at the data and explain why bariatrics is nonetheless a Good Thing. I've just been emotionally scarred and can't do it. So I understand. For similar reasons I never want to touch a pressurized white-gas stove again. Those things terrify me- a buddy of mine once lost his eyebrows to one. Hmm, for that matter the idea of carrying around a pressurized canister of isobutane kind of gives me the willies, too, as irrational as that is. I just prefer my nice, simple puddle of flammable liquid- I don't have to trust whoever made the canister and the burner.
But I'm more concerned about what you do with your cigarette butts (if you smoke). They seem to be responsible for an inordinate fraction of accidental wildfires.