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Facts About Fire: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Anna Reinking

Anni taught elementary school for eight years and is currently teaching college. She received her Ed.D. in Curriculum and Instruction.

Fire can be found inside or outside and used for many purposes. In this lesson, we'll find out what fire is used for, what makes fire burn and how hot fire can get. We'll also learn about fire safety.

What Is Fire?

Have you ever watched an adult light a candle? Have you ever sat around a campfire at night? Fire is a chemical reaction that occurs when heat and a fuel source combine with oxygen in the air, creating flames and giving off light and smoke.

Fire is created by a chain reaction involving heat, oxygen and fuel.
fire chart

The Warm Glow of Flames

Flames are the blazing part of the fire we can see. Flames can be different colors depending on what is being burned and how hot the fire is. If you look closely at a campfire, you may see white, orange, red, and yellow flames. The color closet to the bottom of the fire, white, is the hottest because that is where the chemical reaction is occurring between the fuel, heat and oxygen. If you look at lit birthday candles on a cake, you might see blue at the bottom of the flames. For candles, this is the hottest part of the flame because that is where the fire chain reaction occurs. Flame become cooler the farther away they are from this reaction. However, fire is never cool enough for a person to touch.

Although uncontrolled fire can be dangerous, controlled fire can be useful to people. People use fire to keep themselves warm and to heat food and water. Fire can also be used to provide light. People have been using fire for a very long time. Some scientists claim that people have been using fire for cooking food for 1 million years!

Fire not only helps people in their daily lives, but it can also be used to help the environment. Controlled fires are used in forests in national parks to help reduce the overgrowth of some plants such as weeds and to encourage the growth of some types of trees. For example, the warmth of fire allows lodgepole pine tree cones to open up and drop their seeds on the forest floor, which allows them to reproduce.

Controlled fires can be used to help forest ecology.
forest fire

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