FireWorks for the Northern Rocky Mountains and Northern Cascades - E02: Making Fires Burn or Go Out 1: Introduction to the Fire Triangle
Course Type: FireWorks activities
Availability: Public access
Author(s): FireWorks Educational Program
  • Ilana L. Abrahamson
    US Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire, Fuel, and Smoke Science Program
Date Created: October 5, 2017

Cataloging Information

  • fire triangle
  • heat
  • ignition
  • oxygen
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Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: February 17, 2020
FRAMES Record Number: 25022


Lesson Overview: In this activity, students describe and organize what they already know about fire so it fits into the conceptual model of the Fire Triangle. They examine the geometric stability of a triangle and how that property applies to fire.

Lesson Goal: Increase students’ understanding of how fires burn and why they go out.


  • Students can construct a triangle out of toothpicks and gumdrops, and can label its legs with the three components of the Fire Triangle.
  • Students can demonstrate that removing one side of the triangle makes it collapse.
  • Students can identify the component(s) of the Fire Triangle that are removed in various scenarios, and explain how this makes the fire go out.
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