FireWorks for the Northern California Oak Woodlands - M.2.3: Fuel Properties: The Bonfire Challenge
Course Type: FireWorks activities
Availability: Public access
Author(s): FireWorks Educational Program
Date Created: October 5, 2021

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Record Last Modified: October 22, 2021
FRAMES Record Number: 64543


Lesson Overview: In this activity, students explore how different properties of fuels affect fire behavior - especially how hard it is to ignite fuels, how long they are likely to burn, and how completely they consume the fuels available. Students consider various combinations of fuels (“fuel recipes”), predict how they will burn, then test their hypotheses. Then students demonstrate what they have learned in discussion and in writing.

Lesson Goal: Increase students’ understanding of properties of wildland fuels and how they affect fire spread, fire duration, and burn completeness.


  • Students can arrange specific fuels in a way that will maximize their ignitability, the fire’s duration, and the completeness of the burn.
  • Students can discuss the ignition and burning of various combinations of wildland fuels in relation to 4 properties: amount, size, moisture, and spatial arrangement.
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