How does fire spread? How do different forest materials fuel it? How can firefighters better understand its behavior in order to control it? Why is the physics of fire so counter-intuitive and mysterious to us?

At The Fire Lab in Missoula, Montana, highly-trained researchers conduct controlled tests with wind tunnels, fire-whirl generators, and giant combustion chambers to reverse-engineer fire. High-speed camera technology records everything and allows them to analyze each detail. Their mission: “improve the safety and effectiveness of fire management by creating and disseminating the basic fire science knowledge, tools, and applications for scientists and managers.”

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The Mysterious Science of Fire by Katherine Wells and Sam Price-Waldman at The Atlantic, another great conversation starter about fire prevention and safety tips, and using matches as tools.

Related reading from May 2013: Archaeologists Find Earliest Evidence of Humans Cooking With Fire

Related watching: What’s happening when a match is lit?, Why do hot things glow?, firefighter helmet cam, and Smokey and The Little Boy.

Thanks, @faketv.

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