A firebreak is a gap in vegetation or other combustible material that acts as a barrier to slow or stop the progress of a bushfire or wildfire. A firebreak may occur naturally where there is a lack of vegetation or "fuel", such as a river, lake or canyon. Firebreaks may also be man-made, and many of these also serve as roads, such as a logging road, four-wheel drive trail, secondary road, or a highway.

Firebreak also called "fireroad", "fire line" or "fuel break"


Plow cutting a firebreak in advance of a forest fire, South Carolina
A poster promoting plowing to create a fire break

In the construction of a firebreak, the primary goal is to remove deadwood and undergrowth down to mineral soil. Various methods may be used to accomplish this initially and to maintain this condition. Ideally, the firebreak will be constructed and maintained according to the established practices of sustainable forestry and fire protection engineering also known as best management practices (BMP). The general goals are to maximize the effectiveness of the firebreak at slowing the spread of wildfire, and by using firebreaks of sufficient size and density to hopefully reduce the ultimate size of wildfires. Additional goals are to maintain the ecology of the forest and to reduce the impact of wildfires on air pollution and the global climate, and to balance the costs and benefits of the various projects.

These goals can be achieved through the use of appropriate operating practices, many of which can be potentially mutually beneficial to all. In many cases, it may be useful for firebreak upkeep to be used in concert with the harvesting of forestry products such as lumber and biomass fuel, since the objectives are fundamentally related, in that the basic goals are to remove material from the forest. Furthermore, if done properly, the value of these products can significantly offset the cost of maintaining the firebreak. In addition, these commercial industries and small businesses are helped by a reduction in the property damages caused by wildfires, and reduced risk of investment. The biomass material that is not suitable for dimensioned lumber, is suitable to make woodchips for the paper industry, and the energy industry. Larger trees are sometimes left in place within some types of firebreaks, to shade the forest floor and reduce the rate of fuel accumulation, and to enhance the landscaping in recreational and inhabited locations.


Forested areas often contain vast networks of firebreaks. Some communities are also using firebreaks as part of their city planning strategy.[1] An example is the City of Revelstoke, British Columbia including Firebreaks in their Community Wildfire Protection Plan.[2]


Contrasts - fire
By comparing the burnt (right) and unburnt (left) sides of a dirt road in South Africa after a major veldfire (wild fire) the effectiveness of the road in acting as a firebreak can be seen.

Depending on the environmental conditions, and the relative effectiveness of a given firebreak, firebreaks often have to be backed up with other firefighting efforts. Even then, it is still sometimes possible for fire to spread across a seemingly impenetrable divide. During the worst part of the fire season in southern California, strong Santa Ana winds were observed to blow carpets of burning embers across eight-lane freeways. During the 1988 fires in Yellowstone National Park, hot embers managed to cross the Lewis Canyon, a natural canyon up to a mile wide and 600 feet (180 m) deep. In Australia, firebreaks are less effective against eucalyptus forest fires, since intense fires in tinder-dry eucalyptus forest spread through flying embers, which can be carried by the winds to trigger new blazes several kilometres away.[3]


The world's most expensive firebreak was created when part of Van Ness Avenue in San Francisco was dynamited to stop the spread of fire resulting from the 1906 San Francisco earthquake.[4] Firefighting after an earthquake can be especially challenging, because an earthquake can cause water mains to rupture, resulting in a complete loss of water pressure.

Firebreaks, along with backburning, are also the source of the everyday phrase "fight fire with fire".[5]

A firebreak was also used as a trail for David Sweat, a prison escapee from the Clinton Correctional Facility in New York, trying to enter Canada[6] in 2015.

2013-05-10 12 18 27 Freshly dug fire break along the Mount Misery Trail in Brendan T. Byrne State Forest
Firebreak in the Brendan T. Byrne State Forest in New Jersey's Pine Barrens ecoregion

See also


  1. ^ "Prevention and Protection from Fires » City of Greater Geraldton". Retrieved 2018-05-30.
  2. ^ Girard, Rob (2018-05-30). "Community Wildfire Protection Plan". City of Revelstoke. Archived from the original on 2018-05-30. Retrieved 25 July 2018.
  3. ^ Adam, David (2009-02-09). "Australian wild fires prompt call to return to Aboriginal bush control". The Guardian. Retrieved 2017-02-12.
  4. ^ Coleman, Le Vert (1906-05-02). "U.S. Army Dynamite Report - 1906 Earthquake". Retrieved 2018-11-10.
  5. ^ Martin, Gary (n.d.). "The meaning and origin of the expression: Fight fire with fire". Gary Martin. Retrieved 2017-02-12.
  6. ^ Feyerick, Debroah (2015-06-28). "David Sweat shot and captured alive after New York manhunt". CNN. Retrieved 2017-02-12.

External links

Anchor telephone exchange

Anchor Exchange was an underground, hardened telephone exchange built in Birmingham, England. Construction commenced in 1953 under the guise of building an underground railway and opened in September 1957 at a cost of £4 million. It was located nominally on Newhall St. However its network of tunnels extended from at least the Jewellery Quarter to Southside.It originally formed one of a network of 18 Zone Switching Centres within the United Kingdom (UK) telephone system that provided trunk switching facilities within its own charge group and to Group Switching Centres (GSC) within an area broadly comprising the West Midlands and central Wales. The exchange formed part of the trunk mechanisation plan commenced in 1939 to permit operators from originating GSCs to dial through to a distant UK subscriber without requiring further operator intervention. Later, it was additionally used to switch subscriber dialled trunk calls after its introduction at Bristol in 1958.

It was subsequently augmented and superseded by a Transit Switching Centre (TSC) equipped with a crossbar switching system (TXK4) which formed part of the Transit Network. It parented two of the first three GSCs at Worcester and Wolverhampton to go-live when the transit network was inaugurated in 1971 which eventually provided universal UK automatic subscriber dialling and was completed in 1979.The Anchor telephone exchange tunnels are still used to house communication cables. They have been updated with firebreak compartments and hazardous asbestos has been removed. They are continually pumped out because of the city's rising water table.The exchange took its name from the hallmark of Birmingham Assay Office, which depicts an anchor.

Animal Health Act 1981

The Animal Health Act 1981 is a piece of UK legislation that provides powers for the control of outbreaks of avian influenza and Newcastle disease. These powers were extended by a statutory instrument. It was amended by the Animal Health and Welfare Act 1984. It was amended in 2002 to provide more powers to deal with foot and mouth disease, a problem that in 2001 bedevilled herds during the Blair ministry.The Act provides for:

slaughter of diseased poultry, poultry suspected of disease, poultry exposed to disease and poultry which the government thinks should be slaughtered to prevent the spread of disease

payment of compensation for birds that are slaughtered but are not diseased.

publication of a slaughter protocol prior to exercising the power to impose a preventive or firebreak cull. Emergency vaccination would have to be considered prior to any cull, and, if not used, the reasons would have to be published.

powers for veterinary inspectors to enter premises to ascertain whether disease anti-bodies exist, whether any animal is or was infected with disease and whether any causative agent of disease is present

publication of biosecurity guidance

preparation and review of a national contingency plan

Atlas Fire

The Atlas Fire was a 2017 wildfire burning in Napa County, California north of the city of Napa, near Napa Soda Springs. It was one of fourteen large fires simultaneously burning in eight Northern California counties, in what was called the "Northern California firestorm". Governor Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency.

The fire, which started on October 8, had by October 12 burned 51,057 acres (207 km2) of land, and was 77% contained.

By October 12, the fire stretched from Lake Berryessa south to Napa, but a firebreak was established across Atlas Peak Road.

Australian Capital Territory Rural Fire Service

The ACT Rural Fire Service is a branch of the Australian Capital Territory Emergency Services Agency. It is responsible for the prevention, detection and extinguishment of all bushfires within the ACT, as well as assisting the other branches of ESA.

Challenge Stakes (Great Britain)

The Challenge Stakes is a Group 2 flat horse race in Great Britain open to horses aged three years or older. It is run on the Rowley Mile at Newmarket over a distance of 7 furlongs (1,408 metres), and it is scheduled to take place each year in October.

Criterion, Oregon

Criterion is an historic unincorporated community in Wasco County, in the U.S. state of Oregon. It lies along U.S. Route 197 between Maupin and Madras. Nearby is Criterion Summit, which at about 3,360 feet (1,020 m) above sea level is the highest point along the highway between The Dalles to the north and Redmond to the south. In the late 19th century, the route over the summit was a wagon road linking The Dalles to Lakeview and California.A post office was established here in 1913. The name comes from the dictionary word meaning a standard by which to judge quality. The founder who proposed the name linked it to the idea of a model community. Although other local residents preferred the name Three Notches, for a large, notched juniper tree growing nearby, the Post Office rejected the two-word proposal in favor of the single word, Criterion. The post office closed in 1926.The Criterion Ranch Trail is an 11-mile (18 km) hiking route between Route 197 at Criterion and the Deschutes River to the west. It follows power lines and an old ranch trail used recently as a firebreak during a wildfire in 2011. The trail connects with other trails in the Criterion Tract, a recreational area administered by the Bureau of Land Management. It has frontage along a 5-mile (8 km) stretch of the highway and extends to the river.

Diaphragm arch

A diaphragm arch is a transverse wall-bearing arch forming a partial wall dividing a vault or a ceiling into compartments.When used under a wooden roof, it has the advantage of providing a partial firebreak. It was first used in Roman Syria, during the 2nd century AD.

Firebreaker Chip

Curtis Thompson (born January 20, 1963) is an American retired professional wrestler. He is best known for his appearances with World Championship Wrestling from 1991 to 1992 under the ring name Firebreaker Chip.

Godolphin Mile

The Godolphin Mile is a Group 2 flat Thoroughbred horse race in the United Arab Emirates for Southern Hemisphere three-year-old horses and Northern Hemisphere four-year-olds. It is contested on dirt over a distance of 1,600 metres (approximately 8 furlongs) at Meydan Racecourse in Dubai.

Inaugurated in 1994 as the Nad Al Sheba Mile, and renamed in 2000, the race takes place annually during the Dubai World Cup Night in late March and currently offers a purse of US$1 million.

Great Fire of London

The Great Fire of London was a major conflagration that swept through the central parts of the English city of London from Sunday, 2 September to Thursday, 6 September 1666. The fire gutted the medieval City of London inside the old Roman city wall. It threatened but did not reach the aristocratic district of Westminster, Charles II's Palace of Whitehall, and most of the suburban slums. It consumed 13,200 houses, 87 parish churches, St Paul's Cathedral, and most of the buildings of the City authorities. It is estimated to have destroyed the homes of 70,000 of the city's 80,000 inhabitants.The death toll is unknown but was traditionally thought to have been small, as only six verified deaths were recorded. This reasoning has recently been challenged on the grounds that the deaths of poor and middle-class people were not recorded; moreover, the heat of the fire may have cremated many victims, leaving no recognisable remains. A melted piece of pottery on display at the Museum of London found by archaeologists in Pudding Lane, where the fire started, shows that the temperature reached 1,250 °C (2,280 °F; 1,520 K).

Hazardous materials apparatus

A hazardous material apparatus is a specialized piece of equipment used by hazmat responders responding to calls involving potentially hazardous materials. Due to the ever-evolving nature of dangerous goods, these vehicles are highly customized to fit the needs of the agency responsible for the apparatus.


The kama-yari (鎌槍, sickle spear) is essentially is a yari with horizontal kama (blade) at the base of the vertical blade to assist in hooking things. Generally the hooks are large enough to hold the head, neck or jaw (when in a tree) or to hook limbs of a swordsman on the ground, thus it is different in function in this respect from other types of yari. Also the kama-yari was used to hook horsemen and dismount them.Historically it also had a non-military use, where it was employed by Japanese firemen to pull down the roofs of burning buildings to slow a fire much the same way firemen of today would topple buildings to create a firebreak.

Margarita Peak

Margarita Peak is a prominent mountain in San Diego County. It is 9 miles (14 km) southwest of Murrieta Hot Springs and 9 miles (14 km) northwest of Fallbrook. Its 3,193-foot (973 m) summit is the 32nd most prominent peak in San Diego County. Margarita Peak is owned by the Fallbrook Land Conservancy, which has closed public access to the peak and the surrounding Margarita Peak Preserve for biological studies and sensitive habitat. The trail to the peak was relatively little-used and not known by many people. It was considered one of San Diego's greatest hidden gems, due to the breathtaking 360-degree panorama views at the top. The main trail begins on Margarita Road after the end of Tenaja Road 13 miles (21 km) southwest of I-15 and leads to nearby Margarita Lookout. Persons attempting to reach the peak must use a steep, poorly maintained firebreak that connects to the main trail. The hike to the top is 3 miles (4.8 km) each way.

Mount Tammany Fire Road

The Mount Tammany Fire Road is an unpaved 4.5-mile (7.2 km) road on the eastern ridgeline of Kittatinny Mountain from Upper Yards Creek Reservoir to Mount Tammany, the 1,527-foot (465 m) prominence on the New Jersey side of the Delaware Water Gap. The fire road, located within Worthington State Forest, is maintained as a firebreak and access road for wildfire suppression efforts by the New Jersey Forest Fire Service. There are three helispots along the fire road used by the Forest Fire Service.

The Mount Tammany Fire Road was constructed as a dozer line created after the 1976 Dunnfield Creek fire on Kittatinny Mountain which consumed over 2,000 acres (8.1 km2) of forests from April 18 to April 22, 1976. Today, the road is often used as part of a loop with the Appalachian Trail, Sunfish Pond Fire Road, Dunnfield Creek trail and other trails by hikers visiting the Delaware Water Gap. The Mount Tammany Fire Road connects with the Blue Dot Trail, Red Dot Trail, Turquoise and Taylor Trails on Mount Tammany.

Oxygen firebreak

An oxygen firebreak, also known as a fire stop valve or fire safety valve, is a thermal fuse designed to extinguish a fire in the delivery tube being used by a patient on oxygen therapy and stop the flow of oxygen if the tube is accidentally ignited. Oxygen firebreaks are fitted into the oxygen delivery tubing close to the patient, typically around the patient’s sternum where the two nasal cannula tubes join and connect to the delivery tubing.

Rhobell Fawr

Rhobell Fawr is an extinct volcano in the Arenig range within the Snowdonia National Park.

Despite its modest height of 734 m (2,408 feet), it is a mountain with views of higher peaks all around, including the north face of Cadair Idris and distant Snowdon.

The paths are not well trodden, but there is a distinct path up from Bwlch Goriwared, a couple of miles north-north-east of the small village of Llanfachreth. From the pass (SH764246) a ladder-stile crosses a wall beside some sheep-folds on the eastern side of the track. A path follows a wall eastwards for a little more than 2 miles to the summit. The walk can easily be done, there and back from Llanfachreth, in 4 hours, given good weather, and provided you are used to the British mountains and reasonably fit.

A more arduous ascent is a circuit starting at Cwm yr Allt-lwyd. A good path crosses the infant Afon Mawddach, a switchback rises high above the river and then drops to ford it, from where a fence is followed to the neighbouring summit of Dduallt. From there, descend to the forest, which is entered at a corner (SH804259). The forest is extremely dense, but soon a firebreak is reached and this is followed until a forestry track is seen at the edge of the forest (SH797250). Follow this track south-west to a wall (SH792247), turn right and stay by the wall all the way to the summit. The descent is arduous and involves much struggling through heather and bog until finally a path is picked up. The whole walk should take about six hours.

Saeed bin Suroor

Saeed bin Suroor (born November 16, 1968 in Dubai), is a horse racing trainer. He took out his training license in 1993 and the following year was appointed as the trainer for Sheikh Mohammed's Godolphin operation.

He has been British Champion Trainer on four occasions.

Supreme Stakes

The Supreme Stakes is a Group 3 flat horse race in Great Britain open to horses aged three years or older. It is run at Goodwood over a distance of 7 furlongs (1,408 metres), and it is scheduled to take place each year in late August or early September.

Tulelake Municipal Airport

Tulelake Municipal Airport (FAA LID: O81) is a public airport located seven miles (11 km) southeast of the city of Tulelake. Located in Modoc County, it serves the Modoc and Siskiyou County area in California, USA. This general aviation airport covers 358 acres (145 ha) and has one paved runway. Primary users are crop dusting and general aviation pilots. There is no scheduled service to Tulelake Muni, and the airport is unattended, with no control tower.

The airport is unique in that it is located on the site of the Tule Lake War Relocation Center, a concentration camp used during the Japanese American internment. Tule Lake housed some 29,000 men, women and children between 1942 and 1945, and the foundations or supports of many camp buildings are visible from the air by pilots in the landing pattern.

Following the dismantling of most barracks and other structures, the wide, hard-packed main firebreak and a smaller firebreak road were put to use as runways. The smaller runway was eventually abandoned, with the main runway (11 / 29) being paved and remaining in use.

Following announcement by the Federal Aviation Administration of plans to erect a fence around the airport, groups concerned with the historical nature of the area organized support and a petition drive to prevent this action. The planned fence would surround the site of most of the barracks -- nearly 46 complete "blocks" and portions of several others -- thus making it difficult for visitors to tour the historic site. This will especially impact pilgrimages of former internees, who visit the locations of their former homes.

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