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  • Writer's pictureWildfire Aware

Everything You Need to Know About the Fire Triangle

Fires are fascinating, mesmerizing, and terrifying phenomena. We all understand that fires need fuel and heat to burn, but do you know what else is needed? The answer is oxygen! This fundamental knowledge of the fire triangle - or combustion triangle - is essential to understanding how fires start and spread. Let’s explore the three essential elements of the fire triangle in further detail.


Heat is one of the most important components of a fire. Without enough heat, fuel will not reach its ignition temperature and no reaction will occur. Heat can come from a variety of sources, such as burning material (wood, paper, etc.), electrical sparks or arcs, friction, chemical reactions like thermite welding, or even sunlight on very dry surfaces. Essentially any energy source capable of raising the temperature of a material high enough for it to combust can serve as a heat source for a fire.


The second component necessary for a fire is fuel; which includes anything that can be oxidized (burned) by an oxygen source such as wood, paper, plastic, gasoline or natural gas. Oxygen must be able to reach the fuel in order for combustion to occur; otherwise all you have is hot air. Fuel also needs to be present in sufficient quantities in order for heat and oxygen to create an intense enough reaction to cause ignition and sustained burning.


The third element required for combustion is oxygen which reacts with fuel when heated up sufficiently and causes it to burn/combust/oxidize into other products such as ash or smoke depending on what type of fuel was used. Oxygen makes up roughly 21% of our atmosphere so it’s always present in some form or another; however certain enclosed environments may not provide enough oxygen for sustained combustion so this should always be taken into consideration when dealing with potential fire hazards in certain areas.

Fires are powerful forces that require careful consideration both from an individual safety standpoint as well as from an environmental perspective. Understanding the basics behind how fires work can help us prevent them from happening when we don't want them too! The three components needed for ignition are heat, fuel and oxygen which together make up what's known as “the fire triangle” – if any one piece is missing then there won’t be any reaction resulting in no fire at all! Knowing these three components can help us stay safe by understanding our surroundings better while also providing insight into minimizing the risk of accidental fires when they're not wanted or needed! Thanks for reading!

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