Sunday, October 19, 2014

Smokey the Bear Forest Fire Safety Unit Part 2 & FREEBIE!

Welcome to our Smokey the Bear Forest Fire Safety Unit Part 2  & FREEBIE! We hope you enjoyed our Part 1 introductory post packed full of wildfire information, guides, charts and videos you will NOT want to miss out on!  

We moved on in our unit to learn about the Science of Wildfires. Wildfires are any unplanned fires whether they be started via natural means such as lightening striking dry trees, debris laden forest floor, on rooftops or by human carelessness. Surprisingly enough, 4 out of 5 wildfires are indeed started via human carelessness. They can spread quickly with any type of winds whether strong or weak. Winds then carry embers or debris which "jump" from treetop to treetop or from rooftop to rooftop ahead of the main fire. This is called "spotting".   Spotting can quickly turn into "new" fires.

All fires start with ignition which is a chemical reaction resulting when sufficient amounts of fuel, heat & oxygen exists simultaneously. This is called a Fire Triangle. Removing one component will cause the fire to  die out. 

The picture above is one type of fire triangle. Here is how this fire triangle works: 

Dry debris, trees or rooftops are "fuel". The fuel is then ignited by lightening or careless humans, this is the "heat". The resulting fire is then continued and supported via oxygen.  Wind can push the debris, embers, sparks or ash toward new fuel sources, which in turn can start "new" fires. These winds also have the ability to dry out moist debris which will allow the fire to burn more easily. 

We did an experiment with fire and oxygen. I got a candle, a old cookie tray and a glass. Placing our old cookie tray on our floor tiles for safety, I put the candle on the tray and lit the candle:

Next I placed the glass over the candle:

We all watched as the fire slowly burned out:

It is hard to view the action in these pictures but needless to say, my babes were in such awe, they had me do the experiment over and over again.
Now, let's do an experiment to illustrate how a fire starts. When you strike a match, you are placing friction on the head of the match, which then reacts to the oxygen in the air and ignites causing heat. Have your babes rub their hands together very fast. Ask them if their hands now feel warm. This is friction resulting in heat. The stem of the match is a type of fuel that the heat from the friction needs to keep the fire going. 
If any of the three above components are absent, the fire cannot sustain itself and will quickly burn out.

Now, a burning fire can also generate its own "wind". As the air above the flames heat up, it will rise. This movement provides a "fresh" air supply (oxygen) to the fire. As the warm air rises during the day, the air current travels up slopes. As night falls cooling the ground, the air currents flow down the slopes. Moisture or humidity dampens fuels slowing the spread of flames. Since humidity is greater at night, fires slow down more oft than not.
The temperature of fuels also play a part in the speed of ignition to burn. Fires in the shade burn slower than those in the direct sun. 

Topography has a major effect on the spreading of wildfires. Area contours, elevations, and slopes influence wind and temperature conditions. Landscape barriers, such as cliffs, rocks, boulders, or bodies of water all help to determine the path of the wildfire. Elevations impact the winds and moisture in an area. Land contours and the steepness of slopes directly relates the speed of a fire. When a fire begins at the bottom of a steep slope, the flames below pre-heat the the fuels above the fire. The result is the fuel catches fire and spreads more quickly.   

This is illustrated in this next type of fire triangle:

These two charts illustrate the essentials in the life of a fire, so we made our own Fire Triangle Charts for our Wildfire Chart Center.

First, I drew a large triangle on sheet of tagboard for each child. Then I wrote the element names in their proper place.

Next, I gave them two sheets of mini pictures to color. We discussed each picture and their placement on the fire triangle:

Then each child chose a picture to cut out and placed it in the proper area of their triangle. You can have the children pre-sort the pictures into their proper categories before gluing if you like but since we have a small group, I just gave them the picture sheets to color and cut then guided them on an individual basis when necessary.    


They QUICKLY filled their fire triangles:

They all did a GOLD STAR job!!!

Now for your FREEBIE!! I put together a picture sheet for your babes to make their own fire triangle. You can get it here at our Teacher's Notebook store:

 Build a Fire Triangle Chart FREEBIE

Here are some links for more Wildfire information, guides, charts and activities:

Smokey Patrol PDF 

Wildfire Activities - Scroll down to Section 2

Fire Triangle Activity Sheet - Older Elementary

Fire Facts Activities and Aps

Tennessee Wildfire Prevention Guide PDF

Ignition Graph PDF - High School - Adult

The Force of Fire Primary PDF 

Minnesota Wildfire Prevention Lesson Plans PDF 

Firewise Guide for Arizona PDF

The Science of Fire

Fire Regimes of the Conterminous United States

Wildfire Fighter Jargon

Well, hope you enjoyed learning about the fire triangle in Part 2 of our Smokey the Bear Forest Fire Safety Unit! Be sure to check out all parts 3 & 4 as well for MORE FREEBIES!!

Smokey Bear Forest Fire Safety Unit Part 3 

Smokey Bear Forest Fire Safety Unit Part 4

C.S. Calkins

Meet us and others at our FAV linky parties:

Made It Monday

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday

Freebie Fridays

Hip Homeschooling

MrsAOK, A Work In Progress

Epic Mommy Adventures

Tell it to Me Tuesdays

The Retro Re-pin Party

Coffee and Conversation

Christian Montessori Network

The Mommy Club


Hearts for Home Blog Hop

Homeschool Creations

Social Butterfly Sunday

I was featured for Tot School!

Thoughtful Spot

The Mommy Club

Pintastic Pinteresting Party



  1. This is awesome! We love learning about the science behind how things work. I love the freebie and the lesson, pictures, it's all fantastic! Thanks for sharing and linking up at Favorite things Friday! Hope to see you again this week!

  2. Many thanks for stopping by once again, Rebecca!!! I stopped by but could not find the Fav Things Friday's recent party. Hopefully I will be able to find it soon!

  3. I love your experiment, such a good idea! I'll have to do that with my kids, thanks for sharing such an awesome freebie too!

    1. STOKED you enjoyed our post, Jennifer! I hope your babes enjoy their game and have fun learning about the fire triangle! Many thanks for stopping by and we hope you visit us again soon!

  4. This is so much fun and they will remember lessons like this for a long time! Thank you for including a freebie, and all of the wonderful learning resources. So glad that you linked up with #SocialButterflySunday this week! Hope you will link up again this Sunday :)

  5. Once again, many thanks for visiting us, Kelly! Hoping you get lots of activity fun with your babes from this unit!

  6. It is worth note taking that people working in a safe and healthy environment can greatly focus on their tasks since they require not be worried about their safety. Such increase focus will then lead to better work output, which can basically eventually result to enhance in productivity and benefits.

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