What Are the Four Characteristics of Fire?

When a fire begins, it has four characteristics: Exothermic reaction, Flame color, Rate of spread, and Combustible fuels. If you’re unfamiliar with these characteristics, read on to find out how they relate to fire. Once you know what they mean, you can prevent them. Read on to learn how to keep a house safe from fire. Posted on August 10, 2010 by rbcinfo

Exothermic reaction

Fire is a complex, scientific process where fuel undergoes rapid oxidation, releasing energy in the form of heat, light, and smoke. This is known as an exothermic reaction. The oxidising agent in this reaction is the oxygen. The heat generated by the reaction is maintained by the weak bonds in the oxygen molecules. However, an exothermic reaction can lead to disastrous consequences. Here are a few examples of exothermic reactions that take place in everyday life.

Flame color

When a flame burns, its color is a result of the chemical reactions that occur in its surface. In flames, the colors are created by a number of factors. The most important factors are black-body radiation, spectral band emission, and spectral line absorption, and the amount of oxygen provided. Flame color is therefore dependent upon these factors. This article will discuss each of these factors and how they impact the flame’s color.

Rate of spread

This review presents a systematic overview of 22 models of the rate of fire spread. These models are useful for both wildfire operations and prescribed burning. This review addresses the challenges and limitations of each model. It also discusses the implications of the results. The study also reveals the sensitivity of these models to changes in the model parameters. The findings have important implications for the development of acceleration models for firefighting. Further, the study also identifies a number of research questions and areas that require further investigation.

Combustible fuels

The size of a fuel has an effect on the rate at which it catches fire. Fuels with a large surface-to-volume ratio absorb heat faster and thus need more energy to reach the ignition temperature. For example, a toothpick catches fire much faster than a large log because it heats up quickly. In general, smaller fuels tend to burn at a faster rate than larger ones.

Burning index

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration uses a number called the “Burning Index” to describe the potential effort required to put out a single fire. A high-ranking index means that a fire may be difficult to put out. Generally, the higher the number, the more time and resources it will take. But if the number is low, it means that fires are unlikely to spread to other areas.


The likelihood of flashover of a naturally ventilated room of a dwelling is determined by the probability of a three-seat upholstered sofa having a peak HRR of 2.15 MW flashing over a random U.S. living room. Fires with lower HRRs have a lower flashover probability; thereby, these models can be generalized to a wider range of fire scenarios. A study of the effects of flashover on fire spread can also provide useful insight into the hazard potential of flammable products.