forest fires and wildfires Select a lesson
Facts and tips on forest fires
What is a wild forest fire
Causes of wildfires
Behaviour of wildfires
Effects of wildfires
How to fight wildfires
How to prevent wildfires
Wildfire fact sheet



what is a fire

Introduction to wildfires

Out of the many natural disasters we have, wild fires would be one that is very common, very difficult to fight, and maybe the most dangerous.

What is a fire?
Simple, it is the visible part of a combustion. A combustion is a chemical reaction of three things: Heat, fuel and Oxygen. These three ingredients must be present before a fire can be made and maintained.

This can be best explained in the fire triangle below.
fire triangle for children

For the fire triangle to stand, all three ingredients must be present. If the heat is not enough, or the fuel runs out, or the oxygen runs out, the fire will be out.

This is simply a gas found in air. The air we breath contains about 21% of oxygen. In fact, only 16% is all that is needed to produce fire. When fuel burns, it reacts with oxygen from the surrounding air. This chemical reaction releases heat and other products such as gases, smoke and particles. This process is known as oxidation. This is why some smoke can be very dangerous because depending on what is burning, the gases produced can be very deadly.

Fuel is any kind of combustible material. This can be gas, liquids or solids. Examples of solid fuels include wood, dry leaves and even paper. Examples of liquid fuels include petro and turpentine. Examples of gas fuels include LPG Gas. Fuels with less moisture tend to burn faster than fuels with high moisture.

Heat is thermal energy. You may not see it, but can feel it. Extreme heat of about 617°F will start a fire in the presence of fuel and oxygen. Heat eliminates moisture from any nearby fuel, warms the air around and prepares the fire path to accept the fire and make it burn with ease.

More on wild-fires for children

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