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Treebeard's Stumper Answer
17 September 1999 (bonus)

Wild Fire Bonus

Graybear sent this bonus fire stumper:

Can you name any natural causes of fire other than lightning? (I'm thinking of three others.)

I put this to the kids at school and we came up with:

  1. Spontaneous combustion/heat of decomposition. I've had compost piles get hot enough to char paper, but never quite to the point of combustion. I suspect it's possible, maybe in a dried out peat bog? One of the kids remembered a National Geographic documentary about big bird nests in Africa bursting into flame, but I'm not sure I trust that. Graybear adds: Seal some pine cones in a black plastic trash bag sometime (but not during fire season!) and leave it in the sun.

  2. Volcanic activity, of course.

  3. Meteorites.


Here are a few other less-likely speculations.

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