Stages of Fire

Stages of Fire

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A firefighting crew will undertake a quick fire risk assessment in order to get a fire under control. It is critical to understand the phases of fire while dealing with flames.

The firemen will be able to pick an appropriate technique for extinguishing the fire if they recognise the fire’s growth stage.

Firefighting teams can better understand the stages of fire development if they are aware of them.

  • Determine the most effective method of extinguishment
  • Firefighters should be as safe as possible.
  • Identify how the fire will spread

Check out our fire prevention services to help reduce the risk to your building during a fire.


Incipient fire refers to a fire that is still in its early phases. In the early stages of a fire, portable firefighting equipment can put it out or contain it. Any fire that has progressed to the point where smoke is obstructing visibility is no longer considered an incipient fire.

A smouldering fire can be identified by the following characteristics:

  • The flames are little and don’t extend very far.
  • The smoke allows visibility in the area. 

We reach the second stage as we progress through the 4 stages of fire. The construction of the building and the amount of fuel present will influence the spread of a fire.

The following indicators characterise the growth phases:

  • The fire may continue to develop because there is enough air and fuel.
  • Above the fire, there is a distinct layer of smoke
  • The temperature rises in the room
  • The moisture on the glass has vanished.
  • It’s possible that dark stains on the window glazing will emerge.
  • Windows with cracks

A flashover happens when a fire is between the growing and fully grown stages.

 “The near-simultaneous igniting exposed combustibles” is what a flashover is defined as.

Fully Developed
The fire reaches the fully grown stage after the flashover. This is the stage of fire development when the most energy is released out of all the stages. Temperatures will be at their greatest (usually between 700° and 1200°C).

The following indicators can help you spot a fully established fire:

  • Smoke that has darkened or become black
  • A lot of smoke
  • A significant amount of heat
  • Window panes that have turned black
  • Noticeable flames on the outside
  • Smoke has covered the fire.


A fire will enter the decay phase when it reaches the end of its cycle.

After the fully formed flame runs out of fuel or oxygen, this stage occurs.

By decreasing oxygen supply using firefighting equipment such as fire extinguishers, fires can be driven into the decay stage.

Limiting the flames to a single compartment (or region) will help to keep the fire from spreading.

Limiting the fire’s access to flammable materials and oxygen is essential during this phase. Also remember that a fire can be reignited, even though it looks to be out.

Preventative Maintenance in Your Building
Make sure your fire protection equipment is in good working order so that your staff can fight fires in the early stages.

For more information about our fire safety training courses and fire risk assessments, contact us now. for a FREE CONSULTATION.

Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2002 (DSEAR) click here.
If you would like to arrange a free fire risk consultation, contact us

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Stevenage, SG1 1BP. 0800 999 11 25

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