Visiting the lab that’s trying to understand fire

The cultivation of fire elevated humans as a species by allowing us to cook food, stay warm, and forge tools. But although humanity’s use of fire has been widespread for more than 125,000 years, we still don’t truly understand it. In the Rocky mountains, one center is trying to demystify the destructive force. The Fire Lab in Missoula, Montana, was built in 1960 for the purposes of understanding fire in all of its forms. The Atlantic‘s short documentary about the lab, Fire, in Slow Motion, shows how its staff use specially designed apparatus such as wind tunnels and fire-whirl generators to simulate forest and wildfires, before analyzing the results.

Researchers at the Fire Lab seem to have a satisfying job. Staff are called into a room…

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