Wild fires are one of the topics we will be highlighting in Unit 6. And the key to fighting a wild fire is understanding it. Fire, in general, is simply a chemical reaction that releases heat. As molecules break apart, they bump into other molecules which then break apart. The characteristic flame appearance is simply hot air, rising to the temperature at which air glows (977°F), and then floating away and cooling off. In order to support most fires – and to keep the chain reaction going! – you need a fuel source (molecules to break down), a supply of oxygen (to support the chemical reaction), and a net gain in heat (breaking molecules must produce more energy than they require). We investigated all three of these factors in today’s lab. For more details, see the video above.