Fire

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Fire is the rapid oxidation of a material in the 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 and consists of glowing hot gases. 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 might vary.

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 decreased water purity, increased soil erosion, an increase in atmospheric pollutants and an increased hazard to human life.[3]

Contents

Physical properties

Chemistry

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.

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