Fire resistance

n. A suite of characteristics that reduces an organismís likelihood of being injured or killed by fire.


  • Discussion


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.


  • See Also

  • References

    • Johnson, E. A.; Van Wagner, C. E. 1985. The theory and use of two fire history models. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 15: 214-220.

    • Levitt, J. 1980. Responses of plants to environmental stresses, Volume I. Chilling, freezing, and high temperature stresses. New York: Academic Press. pp. 7-18.

    • McPherson, G.; Wade, E.; Phillips, C. B. 1990. Glossary of wildland fire management terms. Bethesda, MD: Society of American Foresters.


  • Notes

    • Author 

      Jane Kapler Smith, Ecologist

      Rocky Mountain Research Station