Large bonfire
A large fire
Streichholz
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.

Safety

Fire is very hot. A person should never touch fire, because fire may burn anything that gets too close. If human skin touches fire, the skin may blister which can take some time to heal. If a fire occurs, the 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 while human contact is active.

Uses

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 Uses

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

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.

Controlling

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.

Reactions

Fires are usually combustion reactions that take carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen. 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.

Images


Fire for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.