by Dr. Vytenis Babrauskas, Fire Science and Technology Inc.

I have received numerous inquiries from young people wishing to know how they might find out more about fire. For starters, I would recommend the following:

John W. Lyons, Fire, Scientific American Books, New York (1985). Dr. Lyons was for many years the Director of the National Bureau of Standards, but this book is especially written for young readers or those older readers who want to learn the basics of fire.

Michael Faraday, The Chemical History of a Candle, reprint ed., Cherokee Publ. Co., Atlanta GA (1993). Faraday was one of the most famous scientists of the 19th century and this book collects some his lectures pertinent to fire. The lectures were given primarily for the benefit of young people and are still fresh (and correct!) after more than 100 years. It has been reprinted numerous times and any edition should be adequate.

Hazel Rossotti, Fire, Oxford University Press, Oxford, England (1993). This book examines some of the history of science concerning fire. It was written primarily for scientists, but younger readers should also find it approachable. A paperback edition came out in 2002 and should be available at a very low price.

Fire Protection Handbook, National Fire Protection Association, Quincy MA. This has been issued in a new edition every 5 years or so. The 18th edition came out in 1997 while the 19th expanded into two big volumes and came out in 2003. The most current edition is the 20th, published in 2008. The book is quite expensive, but it is available in many libraries on their reference shelf. It is highly encyclopedic, although not “fun” like the ones above, since it is mainly intended for professionals. But if you need to look up some facts pertaining to fire safety, the NFPA Handbook is the most massive collection of fire facts.

You ought to be able to locate copies of these books for sale by looking at If any young readers come across other books on fire that they have found to be informative and useful, I will welcome their suggestions to add to the above list.

Copyright © 2002, 2006, 2020 by Vytenis Babrauskas.