Fires are the accidents which occur most frequently, whose causes are the most diverse and which require intervention methods and techniques adapted to the conditions and needs of each incident.
Depending on the type of fire (nature of the material ablaze), meteorological conditions (wind) and the effectiveness of the intervention, material damage can be limited (a single car, building or production or storage warehouse installation), or affect wide areas (forest or agricultural fires, hydrocarbons, gas or other highly flammable products, storage or piping installations, harbour installations and rail or marine transport equipment). Explosions are in a different category.
Each type of fire is the object of specific technical prescriptions as regards prevention, intervention and the behaviour of the population affected. It is also relevant to note that many fires have a criminal origin and that in times of armed conflict or crisis as well as of indirect wars (sabotage) human intervention also provokes major accidents.
For practical reasons it is best to refer to technical documentation, which should be known or available to all security and fire-fighting services, and to national and regional disaster alarm and information centres.
This is especially the case for rescue and fire extinction on motorways, buildings designed to be used by a great number of people (hospitals, hotels, cinemas, high-rise buildings, department stores, etc...); fires affecting chimneys, attires, cotton (bales, loose, explosive dust), fodder (fermentation), fires in high warehouses, silos or underground garages as well as forest fires.
All these types of intervention are subject to special measures.