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rapid oxidation of a material
A large fire
A match on fire

Fire is a chemical reaction that gives off light and heat. It is an example of the chemical process of oxidation. Fire is also very dangerous, it can cause houses, trees and many other things to burn into ashes. Forest fires are incredibly dangerous and can devastate a huge area in a matter of minutes and fires can almost hurt more than a thousand people a year.

Fire can be made in many different ways such as rubbing sticks together for a long time, using Flint and steel, matches and more. In some camps there is a camp fire; around the camp fire there is usually some logs to stop it from spreading. Fire can also made by the Sun's energy.



Fire is very hot. A person should never touch fire, because fire may burn up anything that gets too close. If human skin touches fire, the skin may burn which can take some time to heal. If a fire gives off much smoke, a person's mouth should be covered with a wet cloth, because if too much smoke is breathed in, it is possible to faint. No fuel source should be near fire.


Fire can be very useful if it is treated carefully. It has always been very important for people to be able to make fire, because people need its heat on cold days and to cook things. Its light is also useful to be able to see in dark places.

Destructive UsesEdit

If fire is not treated carefully, it can be very dangerous. A fire that got out of control once destroyed 17,400 km², an area the size of New York City, in the United States.[source?] Forests can burn down if fires are not controlled. Every year, large areas of forests are destroyed because of fire, including in Europe. This usually happens in summer. Firefighters or firemen are people with special training to stop fires, or to keep a fire under control.

Fire needs three things to burn: oxygen, fuel, and heat. Fuels can be wood, tinder, coal, oil or any other substance that will easily oxidize. Once a fire is burning, it creates its own heat, which allows the fire to keep burning on its own for some time.


A fire can be stopped in three different ways, by removing any of the three things it needs to burn:

  • The fuel can be removed. If a fire burns through all of its fuel and extra nearby fuel is removed, the fire will stop burning.
  • The oxygen can be removed. This is called "smothering" a fire. Fires cannot burn in a vacuum or if they are covered in carbon dioxide.
  • The heat can be removed. The most common way to remove heat is to use water to absorb that heat, putting the fire out.

However, some fires cannot be smothered, such as magnesium flames. They can burn in CO2, nitrogen, and some other elemental compounds, although they cannot burn in noble gases such as helium.


Fires are usually combustion reactions that take carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen.[source?] The products are very commonly water, and carbon dioxide, although there are other examples that avoid this generalization, such as burning magnesium in air, which makes magnesium oxide. Fires can occur in many ways and there are many types of fire which, if not treated correctly, can cause total devastation. There are wood fires, gas fires, metal fires, and more.

Wood fires can usually be put out with water used to absorb the heat, but metal fires are too hot for water to absorb enough heat to put out the fire. If water is used to extinguish ("put out") a metal fire, the water will simply evaporate. For metal fires, sand can be used to cover the fire and choke it off from obtaining oxygen. A fire extinguisher can put out most fires.