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How to Prevent and Control Fire

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Last updated date: 13th Jul 2024
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Fire Control: An Introduction

Fire prevention measures are a key component in fire safety management. This involves the identification and elimination of potential fire hazards both inside and outside of doors of the building, and also the establishment of fine housework practices, periodic inspections, and also the diligent application of safety rules. The ways to manage fire and its prevention is a crucial topic to be mentioned.

Classes of Fire

A fire occurs when the elements, i.e., heat, fuel, oxygen, and chemical chain reaction are present and combined within the right mixture. A fire may be prevented or extinguished by removing any one of the elements within the fire triangle. Primarily all four components should be present for fire to occur: heat, fuel oxygen, and a chain reaction.

While fire can look like one massive threatening force, it’s vital to understand that there are actually many categories of fires. A fire’s class will determine how quickly it burns, and how dangerous it is.

The main categories of fire are as follows:

  1. Class A: Fires involving solid materials like wood, paper, or textiles.

  2. Class B: Fires involving combustible liquids and gases like petrol, diesel, or oils, gases like propane and alkane series, etc.

  3. Class C: Fires involving electrical fires.

  4. Class D: Metallic fires. Metallic fires involve ignitable materials like magnesium and potassium.

  5. Class F: Fires involving cooking oils like deep-fat fryers.

Forest Fires

Forest fires may be outlined as any uncontrolled and non-prescribed combustion or burning of plants in a natural way like a forest, grassland, brushland, or tundra that consumes the natural fuels and spreads according to the environmental conditions (e.g., wind topography).

 

Forest Fire


Forest Fire

Forest fires occur in 3 principal forms, the distinctions relying essentially on their mode of spread and their position in relation to the ground surface.

Types of Forest Fires

There are three types of forest fires.

  1. Surface Fires

  2. Ground fires

  3. Crown fires

Surface Fires

  • They burn only surface litter like dried leaves, twigs, and grasses.

  • These are the simplest fires to place out and cause the least harm to the forest.

  • Parched grass or fallen leaves usually fuel surface fires.

Ground Fires

  • These are generally referred to as underground or subsurface fires.

  • They occur in deep accumulations of humus, peat, and similar dead vegetation that become dry enough to burn.

  • These fires move very slowly however can become tough to completely put out or suppress.

  • Ground fires will smoulder for a long time, even a whole season, till conditions are right for them to grow to a surface or crown fire.

  • Underground fires spread slowly and are hard to notice, thus they may burn for months destroying the vegetative part of the soil.

Crown Fires

  • This type burns trees up their entire length to the highest.

  • They burn through the canopy, spreading from treetop to treetop.

  • These are the most intense and dangerous forest fires as they're terribly tough to contain.

  • It needs strong winds, steep slopes, and a significant fuel load to continue burning.

Causes of Forest Fires

The forest fire causes and effects are listed below:

  • The reason for forest fire includes lightning which is the natural cause of forest fire and may end up in fires on trees which can be spread by wind. Sometimes, high atmospheric temperatures and dry conditions (low humidity) provide favourable circumstances for a fire to start out.

  • Man-made causes are the ones that are more dangerous. Fire is caused because of the sources like naked flame, cigarette, electrical spark, or any source of ignition that comes into contact with combustible material.

  • Other human-led causes are land clearing and different agricultural activities, maintenance of grasslands for livestock management, extraction of non-wood forest products, industrial development, transportation, hunting, negligence, and arson.

Effects of Forest Fires

  1. Forest fires emit billions of tonnes of greenhouse gas into the atmosphere which causes damage to climate and living organisms.

  2. This can also have an effect on the carbon cycle because of excess carbon dioxide and loss of vegetation.

  3. High-intensity forest fires can destroy flora and fauna.

  4. Forest fires can impact the economy as several lives and communities rely upon the forest for food, fodder, and fuel.

  5. It burns down the small shrubs and grasses, resulting in landslides and soil erosion.

  6. Excessive forest fires can even boost the ozone depletion process.

Ways to Control Fire

A fire can occur at any time. Thus, numerous measures are to be adopted prior to managing a fire. How do we control fire? Fire may be controlled or extinguished by removing the fuel and heat and by isolating the air supply from the burning substance. Fire management plays a vital role in controlling fire.

Remove the Fuel

When a fire starts in an area, all the flammable substances need to be removed quickly in order to control the fire. If possible, the cooking gas cylinder should be removed and the electricity must be switched off.

Remove the Heat

Water is used to get rid of heat from a burning substance. When water is thrown on a burning substance, it gets cooled below its ignition temperature and also stops burning.

Cut off the Air Supply

The air supply to a burning substance may be cut off in a number of ways like covering the burning substance with CO2, sand, a blanket, or moist material. The electrical fires are extinguished by using CO2 gas fire extinguishers. Such precautions for forest fire must be taken into consideration.

Forest Fire Prevention

The majority of forest fires or wildfires are human-caused. The few precautions of a forest fire or a few ways to prevent forest fires are listed below:

  • Obey local laws relating to open fires, as well as campfires.

  • Have fire fighting tools nearby and handy.

  • Keep all ignitible objects far from the fire. Scrape away leaves, twigs, and grass within a 10-foot diameter circle from fire. Never leave a fire unattended.

  • Carefully extinguish smoking materials.

  • Careful disposal of hot charcoal.

Conclusion

When a fire breaks out in a house, office, factory, oil tanker, or petrol pump, then the fire is harmful. It will cause loss of life or property. Fire can be extinguished in three ways and it may be prevented by following some basic rules. Forest fires are dangerous and it adversely affects the flora and fauna.

FAQs on How to Prevent and Control Fire

1. How to respond and deal with the fire?

When the fire is discovered, one should follow these steps and try to stay calm. Activate the closest fire alarm (if installed). Notify the native fire department by calling the fire control room. If the fire alarm isn't accessible, give notice to the site personnel regarding the fire emergency by the subsequent means: by shouting. If the fire is small or in the room, you need to notify the neighbours and call for the fire brigade. If it's safe to do so, use a fire extinguisher. If the fire continues to be burning, get out of the area.

2. What are the benefits of a carbon dioxide fire extinguisher?

CO2 is denser than air and forms a layer around the burning substance and cools the substance. It covers the fireplace like a blanket because that fresh air cannot reach the burning substance. The burning substance doesn't get O2 of air and therefore stops burning. Carbon dioxide gas neither burns itself nor supports burning. It doesn't damage the electrical instrumentation. The fires caused by the burning of flammable materials like oil or gas are extinguished by using CO2 fire extinguishers.

3. What may be the other ways in which one can regulate fire?

Some other ways how forest fire can be controlled are by using a fire extinguisher, water, baking soda, and potassium hydrogen carbonate. The use of water reduces the temperature of the substance and once poured in enough quantity, it cuts the supply of O. Whereas a fire extinguisher contains CO2 gas that is heavier than O and therefore suppresses it. The sodium hydrogen carbonate and potassium hydrogen carbonate chemicals even have CO2 present and may stop the fire from spreading. Some other ways are throwing sand or soil on the fire and if an individual is caught in fire, use a blanket to cover them.