A 450-Million-Year History of Fire

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)


This chapter reviews the 450-mllion-year history of fire, and shows how it links to the environmental and evolutionary innovations that have led to the diversity of life on our modern planet. In order for a fire to exist it requires three key elements, illustrated by the fire triangle. The fire triangle shows that fire requires an ignition source, a supply of oxygen and fuel in order that it can burn. The chapter shows how interplay between fuel and past atmospheric composition has potentially influenced broad trends in fire activity. It also shows the significance of changes in atmospheric oxygen concentrations to altering fire activity.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationFire Phenomena and the Earth System: An Interdisciplinary Guide to Fire Science
EditorsC.M. Belcher
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherJohn Wiley & Sons
Number of pages21
ISBN (Electronic)9781118529539
ISBN (Print)9780470657485
Publication statusPublished - 9 Apr 2013


  • Fire

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