fire·​break | \ˈfī(-ə)r-ˌbrāk \

Definition of firebreak 

: a barrier of cleared or plowed land intended to check a forest or grass fire

Examples of firebreak in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Cal Fire firefighter Matthew Rose with the Ramona Fire Department listed the benefits of a trail cleared of vegetation as providing a firebreak, good access points and position markers to identify the locations of people in distress. Julie Gallant, Ramona Sentinel, "Greenway trail would improve public safety, officials agree," 2 July 2018 The majority of Napa’s wineries and vineyards (which served as firebreaks) were spared. New York Times, "36 Hours in Napa Valley," 21 June 2018 On Tuesday, firefighters from multiple agencies cut down trees with chainsaws, sprayed water and used shovels to create a firebreak to keep the fire from reaching multimillion-dollar homes. Joseph Serna,, "Evacuation orders lifted as firefighters control Beverly Crest brush fire, caused by weed wacker," 13 June 2018 Neighborhoods can be buffered by seawalls for storm surges, levees for floods, firebreaks for wildfires. Christopher Flavelle,, "America’s Last-Ditch Climate Strategy of Retreat Isn’t Going So Well," 2 May 2018 Not that long ago Republicans thought that the March 14 special election in the 18th congressional district of Pennsylvania, a Trump stronghold, would offer a firebreak against the streak of adverse special election results. Ed Kilgore, Daily Intelligencer, "New Arizona Poll Shows Another Special Election Upset Is a Possibility," 16 Apr. 2018 The areas between rocket segments also include structural barriers that serve as firebreaks, slowing the burn by channeling the flames into the center. Joe Pappalardo, Popular Mechanics, "The Rocket Fuel Rivalry Shaping the Future of Spaceflight," 10 Apr. 2018 The greatest risk was that winds would blow embers across the firebreaks and ignite new blazes. Time, "High Winds Threaten Progress as Wildfires Rage in Northern California," 14 Oct. 2017 But my wonderful neighbor, Don Fowler, a volunteer firefighter, got on a tractor and worked 11 hours with Cal Fire creating a firebreak to save the studio and prevent the fire from spreading further. Catherine Bigelow, San Francisco Chronicle, "Love letter to Napa survives the fires," 14 Dec. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'firebreak.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of firebreak

1827, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for firebreak

Last Updated

9 Oct 2018

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The first known use of firebreak was in 1827

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English Language Learners Definition of firebreak

: an area of land that has had plants and trees removed to stop the spread of a fire

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Comments on firebreak

What made you want to look up firebreak? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


something that serves to warn or remind

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