Fire terms explained

MEDFORD, Ore. —Containment levels are increasing on wildfires across Oregon, and sometimes it seems like there’s a whole separate set of vocabulary for fires.

We spoke with fire officials, to break them down for you.

A fire line is what firefighters put down, to try to hold the fire inside a border and keep it from growing. Sometimes it’s fire retardant or water, or a line made by a bulldozer or hand crew.

But a fire line doesn’t mean fighting the fire is over. A spot fire happens when embers shoot out from the fire, a few feet, or sometimes even a mile.

Containment, the most common term you may be hearing, means there are no more hot spots or heat, near the fire line. An area of the line won’t be called contained if there is any chance it could come back to life, and allow the fire to grow past the constructed line.

“There are a lot of things that we look for when we look for when we call a fire completely contained and that is that there’s no smoke, there’s no heat that we can feel on the ground, a lot of times we’ll do an infrared flight and see if we can detect heat below the surface,” Natalie Weber, Spokesperson with ODF.

We’re told that dry fuels and warm weather have a direct correlation with fire behavior.

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Jenna King
NBC5 News Reporter Jenna King is a Burbank native. She graduated from the University of Oregon with a degree in Broadcast Journalism and a minor in Sports Business. During her time at the U of O, she was part of the student-run television station, Duck TV. She also grew her passion for sports through interning with the PAC 12 Network. When Jenna is not in the newsroom you can find her rooting for her hometown Dodgers, exploring the outdoors, or binging on the latest Netflix release.
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