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definitions - Fire

fire (n.)

1.the heat or the color of fire

2.the act of firing weapons or artillery at an enemy"hold your fire until you can see the whites of their eyes" "they retreated in the face of withering enemy fire"

3.a fireplace in which a relatively small fire is burning"they sat by the fire and talked"

4.intense adverse criticism"Clinton directed his fire at the Republican Party" "the government has come under attack" "don't give me any flak"

5.the event of something burning (often destructive)"they lost everything in the fire"

6.a severe trial"he went through fire and damnation"

7.feelings of great warmth and intensity"he spoke with great ardor"

8.the process of combustion of inflammable materials producing heat and light and (often) smoke"fire was one of our ancestors' first discoveries"

9.once thought to be one of four elements composing the universe (Empedocles)

10.a kitchen appliance used for cooking food"dinner was already on the stove"

11.fuel that is burning and is used as a means for cooking"put the kettle on the fire" "barbecue over an open fire"

fire (v.)

1.bake in a kiln so as to harden"fire pottery"

2.destroy by fire"They burned the house and his diaries"

3.cause to go off"fire a gun" "fire a bullet"

4.go off or discharge"The gun fired"

5.start firing a weapon

6.call forth (emotions, feelings, and responses)"arouse pity" "raise a smile" "evoke sympathy"

7.drive out or away by or as if by fire"The soldiers were fired" "Surrender fires the cold skepticism"

8.provide with fuel"Oil fires the furnace"

fire (v. trans.)

1.(colloquial)terminate the employment of; discharge from an office or position"The boss fired his secretary today" "The company terminated 25% of its workers"

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Merriam Webster

FireFire (fīr), n. [OE. fir, fyr, fur AS. fȳr; akin to D. vuur, OS. & OHG. fiur, G. feuer, Icel. fȳri, fūrr, Gr. py^r, and perh. to L. purus pure, E. pure Cf. Empyrean, Pyre.]
1. The evolution of light and heat in the combustion of bodies; combustion; state of ignition.

☞ The form of fire exhibited in the combustion of gases in an ascending stream or current is called flame. Anciently, fire, air, earth, and water were regarded as the four elements of which all things are composed.

2. Fuel in a state of combustion, as on a hearth, or in a stove or a furnace.

3. The burning of a house or town; a conflagration.

4. Anything which destroys or affects like fire.

5. Ardor of passion, whether love or hate; excessive warmth; consuming violence of temper.

he had fire in his temper. Atterbury.

6. Liveliness of imagination or fancy; intellectual and moral enthusiasm; capacity for ardor and zeal.

And bless their critic with a poet's fire. Pope.

7. Splendor; brilliancy; luster; hence, a star.

Stars, hide your fires. Shak.

As in a zodiac
representing the heavenly fires.
Milton.

8. Torture by burning; severe trial or affliction.

9. The discharge of firearms; firing; as, the troops were exposed to a heavy fire.

Blue fire, Red fire, Green fire (Pyrotech.), compositions of various combustible substances, as sulphur, niter, lampblack, etc., the flames of which are colored by various metallic salts, as those of antimony, strontium, barium, etc. -- Fire alarm (a) A signal given on the breaking out of a fire. (b) An apparatus for giving such an alarm. -- Fire annihilator, a machine, device, or preparation to be kept at hand for extinguishing fire by smothering it with some incombustible vapor or gas, as carbonic acid. -- Fire balloon. (a) A balloon raised in the air by the buoyancy of air heated by a fire placed in the lower part. (b) A balloon sent up at night with fireworks which ignite at a regulated height. Simmonds. -- Fire bar, a grate bar. -- Fire basket, a portable grate; a cresset. Knight. -- Fire beetle. (Zoöl.) See in the Vocabulary. -- Fire blast, a disease of plants which causes them to appear as if burnt by fire. -- Fire box, the chamber of a furnace, steam boiler, etc., for the fire. -- Fire brick, a refractory brick, capable of sustaining intense heat without fusion, usually made of fire clay or of siliceous material, with some cementing substance, and used for lining fire boxes, etc. -- Fire brigade, an organized body of men for extinguished fires. -- Fire bucket. See under Bucket. -- Fire bug, an incendiary; one who, from malice or through mania, persistently sets fire to property; a pyromaniac. [U.S.] -- Fire clay. See under Clay. -- Fire company, a company of men managing an engine in extinguishing fires. -- Fire cross. See Fiery cross. [Obs.] Milton. -- Fire damp. See under Damp. -- Fire dog. See Firedog, in the Vocabulary. -- Fire drill. (a) A series of evolutions performed by fireman for practice. (b) An apparatus for producing fire by friction, by rapidly twirling a wooden pin in a wooden socket; -- used by the Hindoos during all historic time, and by many savage peoples. -- Fire eater. (a) A juggler who pretends to eat fire. (b) A quarrelsome person who seeks affrays; a hotspur. [Colloq.] -- Fire engine, a portable forcing pump, usually on wheels, for throwing water to extinguish fire. -- Fire escape, a contrivance for facilitating escape from burning buildings. -- Fire gilding (Fine Arts), a mode of gilding with an amalgam of gold and quicksilver, the latter metal being driven off afterward by heat. -- Fire gilt (Fine Arts), gold laid on by the process of fire gilding. -- Fire insurance, the act or system of insuring against fire; also, a contract by which an insurance company undertakes, in consideration of the payment of a premium or small percentage -- usually made periodically -- to indemnify an owner of property from loss by fire during a specified period. -- Fire irons, utensils for a fireplace or grate, as tongs, poker, and shovel. -- Fire main, a pipe for water, to be used in putting out fire. -- Fire master (Mil), an artillery officer who formerly supervised the composition of fireworks. -- Fire office, an office at which to effect insurance against fire. -- Fire opal, a variety of opal giving firelike reflections. -- Fire ordeal, an ancient mode of trial, in which the test was the ability of the accused to handle or tread upon red-hot irons. Abbot. -- Fire pan, a pan for holding or conveying fire, especially the receptacle for the priming of a gun. -- Fire plug, a plug or hydrant for drawing water from the main pipes in a street, building, etc., for extinguishing fires. -- Fire policy, the writing or instrument expressing the contract of insurance against loss by fire. -- Fire pot. (a) (Mil.) A small earthen pot filled with combustibles, formerly used as a missile in war. (b) The cast iron vessel which holds the fuel or fire in a furnace. (c) A crucible. (d) A solderer's furnace. -- Fire raft, a raft laden with combustibles, used for setting fire to an enemy's ships. -- Fire roll, a peculiar beat of the drum to summon men to their quarters in case of fire. -- Fire setting (Mining), the process of softening or cracking the working face of a lode, to facilitate excavation, by exposing it to the action of fire; -- now generally superseded by the use of explosives. Raymond. -- Fire ship, a vessel filled with combustibles, for setting fire to an enemy's ships. -- Fire shovel, a shovel for taking up coals of fire. -- Fire stink, the stench from decomposing iron pyrites, caused by the formation of hydrogen sulfide. Raymond. -- Fire surface, the surfaces of a steam boiler which are exposed to the direct heat of the fuel and the products of combustion; heating surface. -- Fire swab, a swab saturated with water, for cooling a gun in action and clearing away particles of powder, etc. Farrow. -- Fire teaser, in England, the fireman of a steam emgine. -- Fire water, a strong alcoholic beverage; -- so called by the American Indians. -- Fire worship, the worship of fire, which prevails chiefly in Persia, among the followers of Zoroaster, called Chebers, or Guebers, and among the Parsees of India. -- Greek fire. See under Greek. -- On fire, burning; hence, ardent; passionate; eager; zealous. -- Running fire, the rapid discharge of firearms in succession by a line of troops. -- St. Anthony's fire, erysipelas; -- an eruptive fever which St. Anthony was supposed to cure miraculously. Hoblyn. -- St. Elmo's fire. See under Saint Elmo. -- To set on fire, to inflame; to kindle. -- To take fire, to begin to burn; to fly into a passion.

FireFire (?), v. t. [imp. & p. p. Fired (?); p. pr. & vb. n. Fring.]
1. To set on fire; to kindle; as, to fire a house or chimney; to fire a pile.

2. To subject to intense heat; to bake; to burn in a kiln; as, to fire pottery.

3. To inflame; to irritate, as the passions; as, to fire the soul with anger, pride, or revenge.

Love had fired my mind. Dryden.

4. To animate; to give life or spirit to; as, to fire the genius of a young man.

5. To feed or serve the fire of; as, to fire a boiler.

6. To light up as if by fire; to illuminate.

[The sun] fires the proud tops of the eastern pines. Shak.

7. To cause to explode; as, to fire a torpedo; to disharge; as, to fire a rifle, pistol, or cannon; to fire cannon balls, rockets, etc.

8. To drive by fire. [Obs.]

Till my bad angel fire my good one out. Shak.

9. (Far.) To cauterize.

10. to dismiss from employment, a post, or other job; to cause (a person) to cease being an employee; -- of a person. The act of firing is usually performed by that person's supervisor or employer. “You can't fire me! I quit!”

To fire up,
1. to light up the fires of, as of an engine; also, figuratively, to start up any machine. -- 2. to render enthusiastic; -- of people.

FireFire, v. i.
1. To take fire; to be kindled; to kindle.

2. To be irritated or inflamed with passion.

3. To discharge artillery or firearms; as, they fired on the town.

To fire up, to grow irritated or angry. “He . . . fired up, and stood vigorously on his defense.” Macaulay.

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definition (more)

definition of Wikipedia

synonyms - Fire

fire (v. intr.) (technical)

start  (technical)

fire (v. trans.) (colloquial)

can, dismiss, displace, force out, get the boot, give, give notice, give the axe, send away, terminate, throw out, give the sack  (colloquial), sack  (colloquial, British)

see also - Fire

fire (v. trans.)

rekindle employ, engage, hire, take on

fire (v.)

marksman, markswoman, shooter

fire (v. intr.)

startup

phrases

-Fire Extinguishing Systems • Fire Retardants • ball of fire • be on fire • call fire • catch fire • cross fire • cross-fire • electric fire • field of fire • fire alarm • fire and brimstone • fire ant • fire at • fire beetle • fire bell • fire blight • fire brick • fire brigade • fire bush • fire caused by lighting • fire caused by lightning • fire chief • fire clay • fire clay brick • fire code • fire company • fire control • fire control radar • fire control system • fire cuckoo wasp • fire damage • fire damp • fire department • fire detector • fire dog • fire door • fire drill • fire engine • fire escape • fire exit • fire exit drill • fire extinguisher • fire fighter • fire finch • fire hook • fire hose • fire hydrant • fire in fireplace • fire in stove • fire in the hole • fire insurance • fire iron • fire load • fire marshal • fire marshall • fire nest • fire of fittings, furniture • fire of or on (powered) aircraft • fire of or on nonpowered aircraft • fire off • fire opal • fire pink • fire pit • fire protection • fire resistive door • fire salamander • fire sale • fire screen • fire ship • fire station • fire sterilization • fire thorn • fire tongs • fire tower • fire tree • fire trench • fire truck • fire up • fire walker • fire walking • fire warden • fire warning bell • fire watcher • fire watching • fire wheel • fire-alarm bell • fire-arresting door • fire-bellied toad • fire-brigade • fire-bush • fire-clay • fire-cracker • fire-eater • fire-engine • fire-escape • fire-extinguisher • fire-guard • fire-new • fire-on-the-mountain • fire-opal • fire-proof • fire-raiser • fire-raising • fire-resistant • fire-resisting • fire-resistive • fire-resistive door • fire-retardant • fire-retardant door • fire-retarding door • fire-setting (by)(in) adult with dissocial personality disorder • fire-setting (by)(in) alcohol or psychoactive substance intoxication • fire-setting (by)(in) as the reason for observation for suspected mental disorder • fire-setting (by)(in) conduct disorders • fire-setting (by)(in) organic mental disorders • fire-setting (by)(in) schizophrenia • fire-station • fire-swallower • fire-wheel • fire-worship • gas fire • ground fire • high-angle fire • line of fire • on fire • open fire • red fire • set fire to • set on fire • take fire

-1992 Windsor Castle fire • 2003 Okanagan Mountain Park Fire • A Fire Upon the Deep • A Song of Ice and Fire • Angel Fire, New Mexico • April 8, 2003 journalist deaths by U.S. fire • Arcade Fire (EP) • Arkansas Fire Academy • Arlington County Fire Department • Aspen Fire • Atlanta Fire Department • Ball of Fire • Baptism by fire • Bears Discover Fire • Biscuit Fire • Blood Fire Death • Blood and Fire • Box of Fire • Brampton Fire and Rescue • Breath of Fire (series) • Breath of Fire 2 • Camp Fire Girls • Camp Fire USA • Catch a Fire • Cave Creek Complex fire • Chariots of Fire • Chenggong Fire Belly Newt • Chicago Fire • Chicago Fire Premier • Chicago Fire S.C. • Chinese fire drill • Cocoanut Grove fire • Coconut Grove fire • Confessions of Fire • Courage Under Fire • Cross of Fire • Crusade of Fire • Day of Fire (album) • Dig for Fire • Drachen Fire • Eirika (Fire Emblem) • European Fire-bellied Toad • Fire (Lexx) • Fire (classical element) • Fire (instant messanger) • Fire Alarm Horn • Fire Arrow • Fire Belly Newt • Fire Deuce • Fire Down Below (1997 film) • Fire Emblem • Fire Island (band) • Fire It Up (album) • Fire Lad • Fire Maidens from Outer Space • Fire Me...Please • Fire Pro Wrestling • Fire Services Department, Hong Kong • Fire Watch • Fire Watch (book) • Fire alarm panel • Fire alarm pull station • Fire and Emergency Services Authority of Western Australia • Fire and Hemlock • Fire and Ice (1983 film) • Fire and Rain (film) • Fire and Water (Free album) • Fire ants • Fire apparatus • Fire balloon • Fire balloons • Fire blanket • Fire blight • Fire break • Fire chief's vehicle • Fire department • Fire door • Fire drill • Fire engine red • Fire hose • Fire hydrant • Fire in the hole • Fire insurance marks • Fire on the Mountain (1996 film) • Fire on the Mountain (1999 book) • Fire on the Mountain (album) • Fire on the Mountain (film) • Fire on the Mountain (novel) • Fire pit • Fire protection engineering • Fire ring • Fire road • Fire sprinkler system • Fire striker • Fire vampire • Fire weed • Fire whirl • Fire-colored beetle • Fire-coloured beetle • Fire-cracked rock • Fire-stick farming • Fire-weed • Flaming Fire • Flash fire • Florida State Treasurer/Insurance Commissioner/Fire Marshal • Free-fire zone • Friendly fire • Gabriel's Fire • Gaseous fire suppression • Great Balls of Fire • Great Chicago Fire • Great Fire of Rome • Great Hinckley Fire • Greek fire • Hallowed Fire • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (movie) • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (video game) • Hayman Fire • Heir of Sea and Fire • Houston Fire Department • Ice on Fire • Indirect fire • Into the Fire (2005 film) • Into the Fire (Sarah McLachlan song) • Into the Fire (Stargate SG-1) • Jonathan Fire*Eater • Kick Up the Fire, and Let the Flames Break Loose • King's Cross fire • Light a Distant Fire • Lighter (fire starter) • Line of Fire • Los Angeles County Fire Department • Los Angeles Fire Department • Metropolitan Fire Brigade • Mississauga Fire • Mississauga Fire and Emergency Services • New Cross Fire • New South Wales Rural Fire Service • New York City Fire Department • Night of Fire • Old Fire (2003) • Pacific Ring of Fire • Pale Fire • Peace through superior fire power • Peshtigo Fire • Pillar of Fire and Other Plays • Playing with Fire (Spacemen 3 album) • Plunging fire • Portland Fire • Prison on Fire • Prison on Fire II • Prometheus the Fire-Bringer • Quest for Fire • Reichstag Fire Decree • Reichstag fire • Reign of Fire (film) • Ring of Fire (anthology) • Rodeo–Chediski Fire • Second Great Fire of London • Secret Dreams and Forbidden Fire • Set This House on Fire • Set Yourself on Fire • Set the Fire • Set the World on Fire • Shooting at the 2004 Summer Olympics – Men's 25 metre rapid fire pistol • Shouting fire in a crowded theater • Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire • Slow fire • St Elmo's fire • St. Elmo's Fire (movie) • Star Fire • Sun Fire • Sun Fire Link • Sunrunner's Fire • Symphony of Fire • The Difference Between Me and You Is That I'm Not on Fire • The Fire Next Time • The Great Fire of 1892 • The Station nightclub fire • The Triangle Factory Fire Scandal • The Well's on Fire • There's a Fire (EP) • Toronto Fire Services • Trial by Fire (Yngwie Malmsteen album) • Triangle Factory fire • Under Fire • United States Fire Administration • Volunteer fire department • Walk on Fire • Walking your fire • Wayne Township Fire Department • Wheel of Fire • Where Blood and Fire Bring Rest • Why Should the Fire Die? • With Fire and Sword (movie) • World On Fire (Sarah McLachlan song) • World on Fire • World on Fire (song)

analogical dictionary




 

fire (n.) [spéc. anglais britannique]



 

feu (fr)[Classe]

fire[ClasseHyper.]

fire (n.)












fuel[Hyper.]

fire (n.)













 

fire (v. tr.) [colloquial]



Wikipedia

Fire

                   
  An outdoor fire using wood, termed a bonfire.
Feu-de-paille-couverture.ogg
 
  The ignition and extinguishing of a pile of wood shavings.
Fire 1000 fps.ogg
  Slow motion fire sequence 1000 frame/s

Fire is the rapid oxidation of a material in the exothermic chemical process of combustion, releasing heat, light, and various reaction products.[1] Slower oxidative processes like rusting or digestion are not included by this definition.

The flame is the visible portion of the fire. If hot enough, the gases may become ionized to produce plasma.[2] Depending on the substances alight, and any impurities outside, the color of the flame and the fire's intensity will be different.

Fire in its most common form can result in conflagration, which has the potential to cause physical damage through burning. Fire is an important process that affects ecological systems across the globe. The positive effects of fire include stimulating growth and maintaining various ecological systems. Fire has been used by humans for cooking, generating heat, signaling, and propulsion purposes. The negative effects of fire include water contamination, soil erosion, atmospheric pollution and hazard to human and animal life.[3]

Contents

Physical properties

Chemistry

  The fire tetrahedron

Fires start when a flammable and/or a combustible material, in combination with a sufficient quantity of an oxidizer such as oxygen gas or another oxygen-rich compound (though non-oxygen oxidizers exist that can replace oxygen), is exposed to a source of heat or ambient temperature above the flash point for the fuel/oxidizer mix, and is able to sustain a rate of rapid oxidation that produces a chain reaction. This is commonly called the fire tetrahedron. Fire cannot exist without all of these elements in place and in the right proportions. For example, a flammable liquid will start burning only if the fuel and oxygen are in the right proportions. Some fuel-oxygen mixes may require a catalyst, a substance that is not directly involved in any chemical reaction during combustion, but which enables the reactants to combust more readily.

Once ignited, a chain reaction must take place whereby fires can sustain their own heat by the further release of heat energy in the process of combustion and may propagate, provided there is a continuous supply of an oxidizer and fuel.

Fire can be extinguished by removing any one of the elements of the fire tetrahedron. Consider a natural gas flame, such as from a stovetop burner. The fire can be extinguished by any of the following:

  • turning off the gas supply, which removes the fuel source;
  • covering the flame completely, which smothers the flame as the combustion both uses the available oxidizer (the oxygen in the air) and displaces it from the area around the flame with CO2;
  • application of water, which removes heat from the fire faster than the fire can produce it (similarly, blowing hard on a flame will displace the heat of the currently burning gas from its fuel source, to the same end), or
  • application of a retardant chemical such as Halon to the flame, which retards the chemical reaction itself until the rate of combustion is too slow to maintain the chain reaction.

In contrast, fire is intensified by increasing the overall rate of combustion. Methods to do this include balancing the input of fuel and oxidizer to stoichiometric proportions, increasing fuel and oxidizer input in this balanced mix, increasing the ambient temperature so the fire's own heat is better able to sustain combustion, or providing a catalyst; a non-reactant medium in which the fuel and oxidizer can more readily react.

Flame

  A candle's flame
  Photo of a fire taken with a 1/4000th of a second exposure

A flame is a mixture of reacting gases and solids emitting visible, infrared, and sometimes ultraviolet light, the frequency spectrum of which depends on the chemical composition of the burning material and intermediate reaction products. In many cases, such as the burning of organic matter, for example wood, or the incomplete combustion of gas, incandescent solid particles called soot produce the familiar red-orange glow of 'fire'. This light has a continuous spectrum. Complete combustion of gas has a dim blue color due to the emission of single-wavelength radiation from various electron transitions in the excited molecules formed in the flame. Usually oxygen is involved, but hydrogen burning in chlorine also produces a flame, producing hydrogen chloride (HCl). Other possible combinations producing flames, amongst many, are fluorine and hydrogen, and hydrazine and nitrogen tetroxide.

The glow of a flame is complex. Black-body radiation is emitted from soot, gas, and fuel particles, though the soot particles are too small to behave like perfect blackbodies. There is also photon emission by de-excited atoms and molecules in the gases. Much of the radiation is emitted in the visible and infrared bands. The color depends on temperature for the black-body radiation, and on chemical makeup for the emission spectra. The dominant color in a flame changes with temperature. The photo of the forest fire is an excellent example of this variation. Near the ground, where most burning is occurring, the fire is white, the hottest color possible for organic material in general, or yellow. Above the yellow region, the color changes to orange, which is cooler, then red, which is cooler still. Above the red region, combustion no longer occurs, and the uncombusted carbon particles are visible as black smoke.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) of the United States has recently found that gravity also plays a role in flame formation. Modifying the gravity causes different flame types.[4] The common distribution of a flame under normal gravity conditions depends on convection, as soot tends to rise to the top of a general flame, as in a candle in normal gravity conditions, making it yellow. In micro gravity or zero gravity, such as an environment in outer space, convection no longer occurs, and the flame becomes spherical, with a tendency to become more blue and more efficient (although it may go out if not moved steadily, as the CO2 from combustion does not disperse as readily in micro gravity, and tends to smother the flame). There are several possible explanations for this difference, of which the most likely is that the temperature is sufficiently evenly distributed that soot is not formed and complete combustion occurs.[5] Experiments by NASA reveal that diffusion flames in micro gravity allow more soot to be completely oxidized after they are produced than diffusion flames on Earth, because of a series of mechanisms that behave differently in micro gravity when compared to normal gravity conditions.[6] These discoveries have potential applications in applied science and industry, especially concerning fuel efficiency.

In combustion engines, various steps are taken to eliminate a flame. The method depends mainly on whether the fuel is oil, wood, or a high-energy fuel such as jet fuel.

Heat

Fires give off heat, or the process of energy transfer from one body or system due to thermal contact.

Typical temperatures of fires and flames

  • Oxyhydrogen flame: 2000 °C or above (3600 °F)[7]
  • Bunsen burner flame: 1,300 to 1,600 °C (2,400 to 2,900 °F)[8]
  • Blowtorch flame: 1,300 °C (2,400 °F)[9]
  • Candle flame: 1,000 °C (1,800 °F)
  • Smoldering cigarette:
    • Temperature without drawing: side of the lit portion; 400 °C (750 °F); middle of the lit portion: 585 °C (1,100 °F)
    • Temperature during drawing: middle of the lit portion: 700 °C (1,300 °F)
    • Always hotter in the middle.

Temperatures of flames by appearance

The temperature of flames with carbon particles emitting light can be assessed by their color:[10]

  • Red
    • Just visible: 525 °C (980 °F)
    • Dull: 700 °C (1,300 °F)
    • Cherry, dull: 800 °C (1,500 °F)
    • Cherry, full: 900 °C (1,700 °F)
    • Cherry, clear: 1,000 °C (1,800 °F)
  • Orange
    • Deep: 1,100 °C (2,000 °F)
    • Clear: 1,200 °C (2,200 °F)
  • White
    • Whitish: 1,300 °C (2,400 °F)
    • Bright: 1,400 °C (2,600 °F)
    • Dazzling: 1,500 °C (2,700 °F)

Fire ecology

Every natural ecosystem has its own fire regime, and the organisms in those ecosystems are adapted to or dependent upon that fire regime. Fire creates a mosaic of different habitat patches, each at a different stage of succession.[11] Different species of plants, animals, and microbes specialize in exploiting a particular stage, and by creating these different types of patches, fire allows a greater number of species to exist within a landscape.

Fossil record

The fossil record of fire first appears with the establishment of a land-based flora in the Middle Ordovician period, 470 million years ago,[12] permitting the accumulation of oxygen in the atmosphere as never before, as the new hordes of land plants pumped it out as a waste product. When this concentration rose above 13%, it permitted the possibility of wildfire.[13] Wildfire is first recorded in the Late Silurian fossil record, 420 million years ago, by fossils of charcoalified plants.[14][15] Apart from a controversial gap in the Late Devonian, charcoal is present ever since.[15] The level of atmospheric oxygen is closely related to the prevalence of charcoal: clearly oxygen is the key factor in the abundance of wildfire.[16] Fire also became more abundant when grasses radiated and became the dominant component of many ecosystems, around 6 to 7 million years ago;[17] this kindling provided tinder which allowed for the more rapid spread of fire.[16] These widespread fires may have initiated a positive feedback process, whereby they produced a warmer, drier climate more conducive to fire.[16]

Human control

  The fire miracle of Saint Peter Martyr by Antonio Vivarini.

The ability to control fire was a dramatic change in the habits of early humans. Making fire to generate heat and light made it possible for people to cook food, increasing the variety and availability of nutrients. The heat produced would also help people stay warm in cold weather, enabling them to live in cooler climates. Fire also kept nocturnal predators at bay. Evidence of cooked food is found from 1.9 million years ago, although fire was probably not used in a controlled fashion until 1,000,000 years ago.[16] Early Human fire Evidence becomes widespread around 50 to 100 thousand years ago, suggesting regular use from this time; interestingly, resistance to air pollution started to evolve in human populations at a similar point in time.[16] The use of fire became progressively more sophisticated, with its being used to create charcoal and to control wildlife from tens of thousands of years ago.[16]

Fire has also been used for centuries as a method of torture and execution, as evidenced by death by burning as well as torture devices such as the iron boot, which could be filled with water, oil, or even lead and then heated over an open fire to the agony of the wearer.

By the Neolithic Revolution,[citation needed] during the introduction of grain-based agriculture, people all over the world used fire as a tool in landscape management. These fires were typically controlled burns or "cool fires",[citation needed] as opposed to uncontrolled "hot fires", which damage the soil. Hot fires destroy plants and animals, and endanger communities. This is especially a problem in the forests of today where traditional burning is prevented in order to encourage the growth of timber crops. Cool fires are generally conducted in the spring and autumn. They clear undergrowth, burning up biomass that could trigger a hot fire should it get too dense. They provide a greater variety of environments, which encourages game and plant diversity. For humans, they make dense, impassable forests traversable. Another human use for fire in regards to landscape management is its use to clear land for agriculture. Slash-and-burn agriculture is still common across much of tropical Africa, Asia and South America. "For small farmers, it is a convenient way to clear overgrown areas and release nutrients from standing vegetation back into the soil," said Miguel Pinedo-Vasquez, an ecologist at the Earth Institute’s Center for Environmental Research and Conservation.[18] However this useful strategy is also problematic. Growing population, fragmentation of forests and warming climate are making the earth's surface more prone to ever-larger escaped fires. These harm ecosystems and human infrastructure, cause health problems, and send up spirals of carbon and soot that may encourage even more warming of the atmosphere–and thus feed back into more fires. Globally today, as much as 5 million square kilometers–an area more than half the size of the United States–burns in a given year.[18]

There are numerous modern applications of fire. In its broadest sense, fire is used by nearly every human being on earth in a controlled setting every day. Users of internal combustion vehicles employ fire every time they drive. Thermal power stations provide electricity for a large percentage of humanity.

  Hamburg after four fire-bombing raids in July, 1943, which killed an estimated 50,000 people.[19]

The use of fire in warfare has a long history. Fire was the basis of all early thermal weapons. Homer detailed the use of fire by Greek soldiers who hid in a wooden horse to burn Troy during the Trojan war. Later the Byzantine fleet used Greek fire to attack ships and men. In the First World War, the first modern flamethrowers were used by infantry, and were successfully mounted on armoured vehicles in the Second World War. In the latter war, incendiary bombs were used by Axis and Allies alike, notably on Tokyo, Rotterdam, London, Hamburg and, notoriously, at Dresden, in the latter two cases firestorms were deliberately caused in which a ring of fire surrounding each city[citation needed] was drawn inward by an updraft caused by a central cluster of fires. The United States Army Air Force also extensively used incendiaries against Japanese targets in the latter months of the war, devastating entire cities constructed primarily of wood and paper houses. The use of napalm was employed in July 1944, towards the end of the Second World War;[20] although its use did not gain public attention until the Vietnam War.[20] Molotov cocktails were also used.

Use as fuel

  Disability-adjusted life year for fires per 100,000 inhabitants in 2004.[21]
  no data
  less than 50
  50-100
  100-150
  150-200
  200-250
  250-300
  300-350
  350-400
  400-450
  450-500
  500-600
  more than 600

Setting fuel aflame releases usable energy. Wood was a prehistoric fuel, and is still viable today. The use of fossil fuels, such as petroleum, natural gas, and coal, in power plants supplies the vast majority of the world's electricity today; the International Energy Agency states that nearly 80% of the world's power comes from these sources.[22] The fire in a power station is used to heat water, creating steam that drives turbines. The turbines then spin an electric generator to produce electricity. Fire is also used to provide mechanical work directly, in both external and internal combustion engines.

The unburnable solid remains of a combustible material left after a fire is called clinker if its melting point is below the flame temperature, so that it fuses and then solidifies as it cools, and ash if its melting point is above the flame temperature.

Protection and prevention

Wildfire prevention programs around the world may employ techniques such as wildland fire use and prescribed or controlled burns.[23][24][25] Wildland fire use refers to any fire of natural causes that is monitored but allowed to burn. Controlled burns are fires ignited by government agencies under less dangerous weather conditions.[26]

Fire fighting services are provided in most developed areas to extinguish or contain uncontrolled fires. Trained firefighters use fire apparatus, water supply resources such as water mains and fire hydrants or they might use A and B class foam depending on what is feeding the fire.

Fire prevention is intended to reduce sources of ignition. Fire prevention also includes education to teach people how to avoid causing fires.[27] Buildings, especially schools and tall buildings, often conduct fire drills to inform and prepare citizens on how to react to a building fire. Purposely starting destructive fires constitutes arson and is a crime in most jurisdictions.

Model building codes require passive fire protection and active fire protection systems to minimize damage resulting from a fire. The most common form of active fire protection is fire sprinklers. To maximize passive fire protection of buildings, building materials and furnishings in most developed countries are tested for fire-resistance, combustibility and flammability. Upholstery, carpeting and plastics used in vehicles and vessels are also tested.

Where fire prevention and fire protection have failed to prevent damage, fire insurance can mitigate the financial impact.

Restoration

Different restoration methods and measures are used depending on the type of fire damage that occurred. Fire damage can be performed by property management teams, building maintenance personnel, or by the homeowners themselves; however, contacting a certified professional fire damage restoration specialist is often regarded as the safest way to restore fire damaged property due to their training and extensive experience.[28] Most are usually listed under "Fire and Water Restoration" and they can help speed repairs, whether for individual homeowners or for the largest of institutions.[29]

Fire and Water Restoration companies are regulated by the appropriate state's Department of Consumer Affairs - usually the state contractors license board. In California, all Fire and Water Restoration companies must register with the California Contractors State License Board.[30] Presently, the California Contractors State License Board has no specific classification for "water and fire damage restoration." Hence, the Contractor's State License Board requires both an asbestos certification (ASB) as well as a demolition classification (C-21) in order to perform Fire and Water Restoration work.[31]

See also

Additional images

References

  1. ^ Glossary of Wildland Fire Terminology. National Wildfire Coordinating Group. November 2009. http://www.nwcg.gov/pms/pubs/glossary/pms205.pdf. Retrieved 2008-12-18 
  2. ^ Helmenstine, Anne Marie. "What is the State of Matter of Fire or Flame? Is it a Liquid, Solid, or Gas?". About.com. http://chemistry.about.com/od/chemistryfaqs/f/firechemistry.htm. Retrieved 2009-01-21 
  3. ^ Lentile, et al., 319
  4. ^ Spiral flames in microgravity, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, 2000.
  5. ^ CFM-1 experiment results[dead link], National Aeronautics and Space Administration, April 2005.
  6. ^ LSP-1 experiment results[dead link], National Aeronautics and Space Administration, April 2005.
  7. ^ "Flame Temperature Measurement". http://scitation.aip.org/getabs/servlet/GetabsServlet?prog=normal&id=PFLDAS000009000008001577000001&idtype=cvips&gifs=yes. 
  8. ^ "Flame Temperatures". http://www.derose.net/steve/resources/engtables/flametemp.html. 
  9. ^ "Pyropen Cordless Soldering Irons" (PDF). http://www.cooperhandtools.com/europe/sales_literature/documents/WellerPyropen_GB.pdf. 
  10. ^ "A Book of Steam for Engineers", The Stirling Company, 1905
  11. ^ Begon, M., J.L. Harper and C.R. Townsend. 1996. Ecology: individuals, populations, and communities, Third Edition. Blackwell Science Ltd., Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA.
  12. ^ Wellman CH, Gray J. The microfossil record of early land plants. Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 2000;355(1398):717–31; discussion 731–2. doi:10.1098/rstb.2000.0612. PMID 10905606.
  13. ^ Jones, T.; Chaloner, W. (1991). "Fossil charcoal, its recognition and palaeoatmospheric significance". Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 97: 39–50. DOI:10.1016/0031-0182(91)90180-Y.  edit
  14. ^ Glasspool Ij, E. D. (2004). "Charcoal in the Silurian as evidence for the earliest wildfire". Geology 32 (5): 381–383. Bibcode 2004Geo....32..381G. DOI:10.1130/G20363.1.  edit
  15. ^ a b Scott, C.; Glasspool, J. (Jul 2006). "The diversification of Paleozoic fire systems and fluctuations in atmospheric oxygen concentration" (Free full text). Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 103 (29): 10861–10865. Bibcode 2006PNAS..10310861S. DOI:10.1073/pnas.0604090103. ISSN 0027-8424. PMC 1544139. PMID 16832054. http://www.pnas.org/cgi/pmidlookup?view=long&pmid=16832054.  edit
  16. ^ a b c d e f Bowman DM, Balch JK, Artaxo P et al. Fire in the Earth system. Science. 2009;324(5926):481–4. doi:10.1126/science.1163886. PMID 19390038.
  17. ^ Retallack GJ. Neogene expansion of the North American prairie. PALAIOS. 1997;12(4):380–90. doi:10.2307/3515337.
  18. ^ a b "Farmers, Flames and Climate: Are We Entering an Age of ‘Mega-Fires’? – State of the Planet". Blogs.ei.columbia.edu. http://blogs.ei.columbia.edu/2011/11/16/farmers-flames-and-climate-are-we-entering-an-age-of-mega-fires/. Retrieved 2012-05-23. 
  19. ^ "In Pictures: German destruction". BBC News.
  20. ^ a b "Napalm". GlobalSecurity.org. http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/systems/munitions/napalm.htm. Retrieved 8 May 2010. 
  21. ^ "WHO Disease and injury country estimates". World Health Organization. 2009. http://www.who.int/healthinfo/global_burden_disease/estimates_country/en/index.html. Retrieved Nov. 11, 2009. 
  22. ^ "Share of Total Primary Energy Supply, 2002; International Energy Agency". http://www.iea.org/statlist/index.htm. [dead link]
  23. ^ Federal Fire and Aviation Operations Action Plan, 4.
  24. ^ MSN Encarta. Backburn [cited 2009-07-09].
  25. ^ UK: The Role of Fire in the Ecology of Heathland in Southern Britain. International Forest Fire News. January 1998;18:80–81.
  26. ^ SmokeyBear.com. Prescribed Fires [cited 2008-11-21].
  27. ^ Fire & Life Safety Education[dead link], Manitoba Office of the Fire Commissioner
  28. ^ "US Department of Homeland Security, US Fire Administration Handbook". Usfa.dhs.gov. 2010-05-06. http://www.usfa.dhs.gov/citizens/atf/salvage.shtm. Retrieved 2012-05-23. 
  29. ^ Begal, Bill (August 23, 2007). "Restoration With a Capital E-P-A: A Case Study". Restoration & Remediation. http://www.randrmagonline.com/CDA/Archives/BNP_GUID_9-5-2006_A_10000000000000156172. Retrieved 2008-04-11. 
  30. ^ "California Contractors State License Board". State of California. http://www.cslb.ca.gov/. Retrieved 2010-08-29. 
  31. ^ "What You Should Know About Your Water Damage Or Mold Removal Company:". Rapco West Environmental Services, Inc.. http://www.rapcowest.com/water.html. Retrieved 2010-08-29. 

Bibliography

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