Conflagration is an uncontrolled burning that threatens human life, health, property or ecology. A conflagration can be accidental or intentionally created (arson). Arson can be accomplished for the purpose of sabotage, diversion, and also they can be the consequence of pyromania. During conflagration the property is destroyed by fire. Sometimes the conflagration produces the firestorm, in which the central column of rising heated air induces strong inward winds, which supply oxygen to the fire.


  • a destructive fire, usually an extensive one
  • a very intense and uncontrolled fire
  • a large disastrous fire
  • a large destructive fire

The causes and types of conflagration

The most common causes of conflagration are: careless handling of fire, the nonobservance of the operating instructions of production equipment, spontaneous combustion of substances and materials, the discharges of static electricity, the lightning, arson. Depending on an occurrence place we can distinguish: vehicles conflagration; steppe and field conflagrations; underground conflagrations in mines and mines; peat and forest conflagrations; conflagrations in buildings and constructions.

The space covered by conflagration, is usually divided into 3 zones - the active fire zone, the heat zone and the smoke zone. External signs of a zone of the active fire are the presence of flame and the smouldering or hot materials. The main characteristic of the ravages of fire temperature is developed during combustion. For residential houses and public buildings indoor temperature reaches 800-900 °C. Typically, the highest temperature occur during outdoor fires and the average for combustible gases 1200-1350 °C, for liquids 1100-1300 °C, for solids 1000-1250 °C. When burning thermite, elektron, magnesium the maximal temperature reaches 2000-3000 °C.

The space around the burning zone, where temperatures reached as a result of heat transfer values, causing destructive impact on the surrounding objects and dangerous for humans, called the zone of heat. Adopted take that into a zone of heat, burning the surrounding area, includes land, the temperature at which the mixture of air and gaseous products of combustion of not less than 60-80 °C. During a conflagration a significant movement of air and combustion products occurs. Hot gaseous products of combustion move upward, causing the influx of more dense cold air to the combustion zone. Inside the building the intensity of gas exchange depends on the size and location of openings in walls and floors, the height of the premises, and the number and burning properties of materials. The direction of traffic hot product and usually determines the probable spread of the fire path, as well as powerful back heat flows can move sparks, burning coals and lead to considerable distance, creating new hotbeds of burning. Products of a fire combustion (smoke) form a smoke zone. The composition of smoke usually consists of nitrogen, oxygen, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, water vapor as well as ash and other substances. Many products of incomplete and complete combustion, which are parts of the smoke, have high toxicity, the products generated during combustion of polymers are especially toxic. In some cases, products of incomplete combustion, such as carbon monoxide, may form with oxygen combustible and explosive mixtures.

The most famous conflagrations

Place Date Descrption Size
Rome 64 Great Fire of Rome
Moscow 1547
Moscow 1571
London 1666 Great Fire of London 13000 houses и 87 churches are destroyed.
Moscow 1812 Fire of Moscow (1812) occurred after Napoleon captured the city.
Hamburg 1842 Great Fire of Hamburg The quarter of city territory is devastated.
Chicago 1871 Great Chicago Fire From 200 to 300 victims, 17000 buildings are destroyed
San Francisco 1906 Result of the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake At least 700 victims
Barnaul 1917 Uncontrollable fire 34 victims, 60 quarters destoyed.
Stalingrad 1942 The result of an air bombardment More than 40000 victims and 60000 wounded men, a half of city was destroyed, the fire produced a firestorm
Hamburg 1943 The result of an air bombardment 35000—45000 victims, the centre of the city was destroyed.
Dresden 1945 The result of bombing of Dresden in World War II 25000—40000 victims, the centre of the city was destroyed. The fire produced a firestorm
Moscow 1977 A conflagration in the Russia Hotel 42 victims
Bradford 1985 Wooden tribunes of stadium have lighted up during a football match. 52 victims
Greece 2007 Great forest fire.


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