n. A suite of characteristics that reduces an organismís likelihood of being injured or killed by fire.
Fire resistance describes a suite of characteristics that gives an organism a lower probability of being injured or killed by fire than a fire-sensitive organism, which has a relatively high probability of being injured or killed by fire (McPherson and others 1990). The term implies that the organism is not injured by forces that would seem able to injure it (Johnson and Van Wagner 1985). According to Levitt (1980), there are two kinds of resistance to injury, whether caused by fire or other forces: tolerance and avoidance. Fire tolerance refers to a state in which living cells are severely heated but survive anyway; this state is rare. Fire avoidance describes ways of preventing cells from heating to lethal temperatures.