We’ve covered what fire is, how it spreads, how hot it gets, and more. The answers to these questions may have been interesting, however, what are some things that may surprise you about fire? From its history to its chemical makeup to other random tidbits, here are 10 surprising things you didn’t know about fire.

  1. Did you know that fire makes water? Crazy, right? If you put a cold spoon over a flame, water vapor will condense on the metal.

  2. Which planets can fire burn on? Trick question. Just earth. No other planet has enough oxygen (even if you include Pluto).

  3. The deadliest fire in American history took place April 27, 1865. It occurred on the steamship "Sultana." The boilers exploded and the ship was 6 times over capacity, which is not a good combination. The death toll? 1,547

  4. The color of a flame is influenced by the oxygen supply. Low-oxygen flames give off a yellow glow while high-oxygen flames burn blue.

  5. The more oxygen, the hotter the flame. An oxyacetylene welding torch, which is pure oxygen plus acetylene, burns at over 5,500 degrees Fahrenheit. You can’t get much hotter than that.

  6. A house fire will double in size every minute. Read this blog post about how fast fire spreads.

  7. The second deadliest fire in United States history took place on October 8, 1871. It claimed 1,200 lives. It is known as the Peshtigo Fire in Wisconsin.

  8. The Greeks used concentrated sunlight to start fires. Solar rays are still used to light the Olympic torch via a parabolic mirror.

  9. Spontaneous combustion CAN happen. There are some fuel sources that generate their own heat, sometimes by rotting. This can cause spontaneous combustion to occur, so be careful.

  10. The Great Fire of London in 1666 destroyed 80 percent of the city, subsequently ending an outbreak of the bubonic plague.

There are many more interesting and surprising facts about fire and its history, too much for just one post. Sound off in the comments below if there are any facts you would like to add.


Barak Bacharach, SkySaver Content Manager