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What is Fire?

In order to have a fire, three conditions must be present: a supportive atmosphere (sufficient oxygen content); combustible fuel; and a source of ignition (heat). With the proper conditions present combustion (fire) or rapid explosion can occur. Fire is a chemical reaction process, actually rapid oxidation. Remove any of the conditions required, by smothering or cooling with an extinguishing agent, or cut off the fuel flow, and combustion is interrupted. Back burning or clear cutting in advance of the path of a forest or field fire is an example of removal of fuel source. Water both cools and smothers. Chemical extinguishing agents block oxygen from supporting fire. A fire blanket rapped around a fire victim in a lab smothers the fire on burning garments or hair. That is why fire blankets and emergency shower heads with quick pull rings and chains are located in chemistry laboratories.

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