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Fires can spread by:

  • Convection - Cold air is sucked in to the base of a fire and heated then this super heated smoke can cause the fire to spread very quickly
  • Conduction - Heat is transferred through walls, doors or roof beams to name a few and the heat causes flammable items to catch fire
  • Radiation - the heat radiated can ignite more areas. The sun can cause fire by radiation as it hits items that then ignite.
  • Direct ignition - This can be the flames burning more or sparks landing on other areas.

Fire can spread by one or more of these methods and sometime you will find the heat is burning without obvious flames until air is added.  The speed of spread will vary on the items in the building, what walls or doors are there and the airflow.