Have you found yourself wondering if fire can burn underwater? It sounds odd, fire and water are opposites, but the thought is there and you can’t seem to shake it.
What happens to a fire at the bottom of the ocean? Is there a way for an item on fire to continue burning underwater?
These questions can keep you up at night, leaving you to wonder if fire can burn underwater and if water is flammable or not.
You try to search for answers, but never quite get what you need, leaving you unsure where to turn or who to trust.
Well, no more! Today we are here with the answers for you. Just keep reading to find out if fire can burn underwater and everything else you need to know about it!
Can Fire Burn Underwater?
Let’s get straight into it! Yes, a fire can burn underwater. We know that answer can be a little shocking, but fire can indeed burn even underwater.
You would need enough fuel, an oxidizer, and heat that would cause a flame for a fire to burn underwater.
You would need a combination of these items to ensure that the fire would keep burning.
It is the mixture of fuel, oxidizers, and heat that helps torches and flares work underwater.
Some of these can even produce oxygen themselves for the fire to feed off and keep burning.
For a fire to burn underwater though, we often need to carefully apply these oxidizers and fuel to ensure that the fire can sustain burning underwater.
Sometimes, a fire needs to burn underwater in construction, for those working on underwater pipes or removing wreckage from the sea.
Typically, specialist diving and fire equipment will be used to do this, rather than the normal PPE or gear you would find firefighters wearing.
Now that we have established that fire can burn underwater, let’s move on and answer some of your other questions today!
Is Water Flammable?
A common question asked is if water is flammable or not, given that it is made up of super flammable hydrogen! Well, water is not flammable.
The combination of oxygen and hydrogen means that water is not flammable. Why you might ask? Well, for something to be flammable it needs to have its fuel oxidized.
So although hydrogen is flammable and fully oxidized, oxygen is not flammable.
So these two molecules (hydrogen and oxygen) will not react with each other, meaning that water is not flammable.
This is true of water in any condition too, it will not be flammable whether it is frozen, as a liquid, or a gas.
And if you were to separate the hydrogen and oxygen to use the hydrogen to start a fire, well then it wouldn’t be water!
What Causes Water To Catch Fire?
Now that we have established water is not flammable, you might be wondering how it can catch fire then.
Well, it is not normal for water to catch on fire. If water is in normal conditions, then the chances of it catching on fire are extremely slim.
However, if water was above its flashpoint, then there is a chance it will catch fire. But this is not something we would typically see in our day-to-day lives.
Sometimes when we do see water on a fire, it is often interacting with other substances, like oil which is on fire.
You also are not able to burn pure water as it only features two components, oxygen, and hydrogen. So your dreams of burning water or seeing it on fire might be short-lived!
Instead, we can assume that as water is not flammable, the chances of it catching on fire are extremely low.
Can I Use Water To Put A Fire Out?
If water is not flammable, you might be wondering if you can use it to put a fire out? Well, ideally, you should avoid using water to put a fire out.
The water might scatter the fire, spreading it and making it harder to contain.
As water also contains oxygen, this can bring life to the fire and allow it to spread easily, rather than dampening it and helping you to put it out.
Instead, you will want to use a fire extinguisher that can help you contain or put the fire out.
Be sure that you have the correct fire extinguisher for the object that has caught on fire, the last thing you want to do is make the fire worse or damage the object further!
For example, you wouldn’t want to use a wet chemical extinguisher on electricals as this could make the fire worse or damage your electricals further.
And the same applies to water, you wouldn’t want to throw that on a computer, or electrical appliance.
Not only will it not put the fire out, but the chances are it will damage your electrical appliance too.
When putting out a fire, be sure to check on your fire extinguisher that it is appropriate for the type of fire that you have.
We know that time is precious in a fire, but anything you can do to safely contain it should be done.
We also recommend taking some time when you can to check that the fire extinguishers you have are all safe to use at that location in your home or business.
It can seem like a tedious task, but it will make all the difference in the event of a fire!
And there you have it, a fire can indeed burn underwater! These fires are typically caused by excess amounts of fuel and heat that can oxidize to sustain a fire.
However, we do often see controlled fires set underwater, especially those in flares or torches for those carrying out work or in need of assistance.
And while we can set a fire underwater, water itself is not flammable or likely to burn.