Fire Story #AToZChallenge



7th of April is the “F” day, cheers. For this letter, I wanted as usual to tell the story of one of the most world-changing inventions. Honestly, when I started thinking like that the word “Fire” just jumped into my head. So, here we go. I’ll tell you the story of the first of the three most important inventions in history (Fire, Wheel, Writing). 

Fire is one of the most 3 physically painful experiences for human bodies (counting Cluster Headaches and Trigenanal neuralgia). Maybe that’s why God made it our punishment in hell for our sins. But, fire also is one of the most (if not the most) important discoveries in history of mankind. 

Fire is the rapid oxidation of a material in the exothermic chemical process of combustion, releasing heat, light, and various reaction products. Slower oxidative processes like rusting or digestion are not included by this definition.

The flame is the visible portion of the fire. If hot enough, the gases may become ionized to produce plasma. Depending on the substances alight, and any impurities outside, the color of the flame and the fire’s intensity will be different.

Of course, we can say that before the man learned how to make fire, it was there already happening from natural sources. But, can we tell when was the oldest natural fire on Earth? The fossil record of fire first appears with the establishment of a land-based flora in the Middle Ordovician period, 470 million years ago, permitting the accumulation of oxygen in the atmosphere as never before, as the new hordes of land plants pumped it out as a waste product. When this concentration rose above 13%, it permitted the possibility of wildfire. Wildfire is first recorded in the Late Silurian fossil record, 420 million years ago, by fossils of charcoalified plants. 

At some unknown time, before the beginning of settled life in the Neolithic Revolution, humans learn how to make fire. No doubt the discovery happens at many different times in many different places over a very long period. The knowledge of how to create a spark, and to nurture it until it develops into a flame, is an intrinsic skill of human society. 

Recent research found evidence that human controllable fire was created 1 million years ago. Scientists


Courtesy Michael Chazen/AP Photo

found clear evidence of burning, such as plant ash and charred bone fragments in Wonderwerk Cave in South Africa, a massive cavern located near the edge of the Kalahari Desert. Previous excavations there had uncovered an extensive record of human occupation. These materials were apparently burned in the cave, as opposed to being carried in there by wind or water, and were found alongside stone tools in a layer dating back about 1 million years. Surface fracturing of ironstone, the kind expected from fires, was also seen. Although modern humans are the only human species alive today, originating about 200,000 years ago, other human species once roamed the Earth, such as Homo erectus, which arose about 1.9 million years ago. 

Before that, the earliest evidence for controlled use of fire is at the Lower Paleolithic site of Gesher Benot Ya’aqov in Israel, where charred wood and seeds were recovered from a site dated 790,000 years ago.

With the acquisition of fire came the problem of preserving, it and interesting examples of the ingenuity of man were presented. First, the fire was buried; preserved in the ashes of the fire itself. Next, a type of slow-match or fire-stick was developed, and later, when man worked with metals, the curfew, or “fire-cover” was invented. The coals were raked together and collected in the chimney recess; the curfew set over them, preserving the fire until morning.’ Those surviving are of sheet brass having perforations, and a handle. 

So, why do we consider fire is one of the most world-changing inventions? Simple. Without fire, man couldn’t have been able to cook, safe from wild animals, survive severe cold ….. etc. Fire was also one of the reasons for human gatherings. Without fire we wouldn’t be here today, maybe we would have been still some primitive creatures wandering the Earth.


2 thoughts on “Fire Story #AToZChallenge

  1. Thanks Ahmed! Love your scientific posts! Hope to read more from you. I would like to know more about the pH balance for human body, if possible 🙂

    Best wishes
    #AtoZChallenge 2014 participant

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