To determine the cause of such a fire, investigators rely on a number of observations and techniques, from telltale signs of flames to satellite imagery and chemical tests. To better understand the science, National Geographic spoke with Richard Meier, a fire investigator in Sarasota, Florida, with John A.
How do firefighters know where the fire is?
Firefighters know when there is a fire because dispatchers notify them when someone reports a fire by calling 911 (or another emergency number outside the U.S.). The closest stations are notified and they send the necessary fire engines and trucks to the call.
How do firefighters keep fires from starting?
Firefighters control a fire’s spread (or put it out) by removing one of the three ingredients fire needs to burn: heat, oxygen, or fuel. They remove heat by applying water or fire retardant on the ground (using pumps or special wildland fire engines) or by air (using helicopters/airplanes).
What are signs of arson?
Common Signs of Arson
- A large amount of damage.
- No “V” burn pattern present, unsual burn patterns and high heat stress.
- Lack of accidental causes.
- Evidence of forced entry.
- Absence of valuable items.
- The same person shows up at unconnected fires.
- Low burning point with unidentifiable point of origin.
- Multiple points of origin.
What is origin of fire?
In fire investigation, the place where a fire starts is referred to as the “point of origin.” This may be an exact point or a general area. … Normally the fire cause will be found at, or very near, the point of origin, and physical evidence of the fire cause, whether accidental or incendiary, is often recovered.
What is a fire investigator called?
An arson investigator is part detective, part fire scientist. After fires are reported and suppressed, arson investigators help determine the cause of the blaze and, if appropriate, whether criminal activity is involved.
What is incendiary fire?
An incendiary fire is a fire that is deliberately set with the intent to cause a fire to occur in an area where the fire should not be intentionally ignited in an area or under circumstances where and when there should not be a fire (see 3.3. 116).
What is considered an accidental fire?
Accidental fires involve all those for which the proven cause does not involve a deliberate human act to ignite or spread fire into an area where the fire should not be. … For example, in a legal setting, a trash fire might be spread by a sudden gust of wind.
What are the 4 key elements of fire investigation?
With few exceptions, the proper methodology for a fire or explosion investigation is to first determine and establish the origin(s), then investigate the cause: circumstances, conditions, or agencies that brought the ignition source, fuel, and oxidant together.
Why do firefighters use fire to fight fire?
Backfiring is a tactic where firefighters intentionally set a fire along a fireline’s inner edge, in order to consume the fuel in the path of a wildfire or to change the direction it is traveling. … This can be used to control the fire’s path and protect certain high-risk areas.