Fire – a good servant and a bad master

Everyone is familiar with the fire which serves us in a number of ways. Fire is not as simple as it seems. It is a rapid chemical process consisting of a number of steps. Fire is defined as a fast combustion process that occurs in the presence of any oxidizing agents. The fire was used by the early humans from the age of the stones.

History and discovery of fire:

  The fire was being used by humans from the primitive times. It was discovered when humans rubbed two stones together and light and heat were produced which was named as fire. That energy was used to cook food and for warming purposes. Discovery of the fire was a major step in the history of humans and it changes the life.


the discovery of fire

Components of fire:

The major substances required for fire production are followed;

  • Oxidizing substance: any substance which is rich in oxygen contents is called oxidizing substance. An oxidizing substance such as oxygen is required for the production of fire.
  • Fuel: a fuel is a substance which is being burned in the presence of oxidizing agents to produce heat. A fuel can be wood or any organic material.
  • Heat: heat energy is needed to produce fire and for the burning of fuel in the presence of oxygen.

Triangle of fire:

Triangle of fire shows three components of fire and their interlinking. From the triangle of fire, we get the information that all three components are necessary for the production of fire. If any one of the components is missing, then fire can not be produced.


The chemical reaction of fire:

There is a fast reaction. It is a chain chemical reaction and the three components react vigorously. It is actually an oxidation reaction in which fuel is burned in the presence of oxygen and energy and fire is produced as a by-product. The process of production of fire is called combustion. Combustion can be incomplete or complete combustion and this depends upon a number of components.


Steps of fire production:

Fire is completely produced in following steps;

  • Ignition: burning of fuel starts.
  • Growth: in this step, the growth of fire takes place with the consumption of more components.
  • Flashover: here the flame completely lights up.
  • Fully developed: the components are completely burned and fuel is completely used. So we say that fire is fully developed.
  • Decay: Now decay of fire starts.


  Flame is the burning part of the fire. It has different colors due to different amounts of components. The blue flame is due to incomplete combustion and the orange flame is due to complete combustion.


Use of fire by early people:

Early humans use fire for the following purposes;

  • Cooking
  • Heating
  • Warming
  • Clearing the lands
  • Roasting
  • Heating bricks
  • Melting metals
  • Indicator of danger

Modern uses of fire:

Nowadays fire is used in modern techniques;

  • Gas burning central heating
  • Cooking and Barbecue
  • Fire is the root process of electricity
  • Landscaping and burning of bushes
  • For boiling water
  • For metal extraction

Dangers of fire:

Along with its advantages, fire also has many dangers. Some of them are mentioned below;

  • Fire burns our clothes and skin.
  • Fire burns our houses and buildings.
  • Forest fire kills wild animals and plants.
  • A fire can spread quickly.
  • Fire can cause a lot of deaths.


Precautionary measures against fire:

  • Never leave your stove burning while you are away.
  • Never throw away burning cigarettes.
  • Install fire alarms.
  • Make an emergency exit.



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