wild·​fire | \ ˈwī(-ə)ld-ˌfī(-ə)r How to pronounce wildfire (audio) \

Definition of wildfire

1 : a sweeping and destructive conflagration especially in a wilderness or a rural area
3 : a phosphorescent glow (such as ignis fatuus or fox fire)
4 : a destructive leaf-spot disease of tobacco caused by several strains of a bacterium (Pseudomonas syringae)
like wildfire
: very rapidly the news spread like wildfire

Examples of wildfire in a Sentence

The recent wildfires were made worse by the strong winds.

Recent Examples on the Web

So far this year there have been 149 wildfires in the state, compared with 720 during the same period last year, according to tabulations as of April 2 by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, or Cal Fire. Jim Carlton, WSJ, "California Could See Fewer Wildfires Thanks to Wet Winter," 8 Apr. 2019 Brittany and her colleagues met with state and federal experts about how to stop the wildfire spread of the disease. Melody Warnick, Woman's Day, "These Small-Town Heroes Are Helping Their Communities Thrive," 2 Apr. 2019 The three major wildfires that started in California two weeks ago have resulted in almost 1,000 people missing and a death toll that has risen to 80 people, ABC News reported. Christianna Silva, Teen Vogue, "President Donald Trump Says Raking Would've Helped to Prevent California's Wildfires," 19 Nov. 2018 The judge presiding over the bankruptcy of PG&E Corp. is worried that another year of wildfires could upend the utility’s efforts to pull out of massive financial and legal trouble. Peg Brickley, WSJ, "PG&E Bankruptcy Financing Stumbles on Worries About More Fires," 13 Mar. 2019 Extended sales AHAlife: Take 25 percent off sitewide with code KARMA—$5 from every purchase will be donated to the California Fire Foundation to benefit victims of wildfire in California. Jenny Xie, Curbed, "Best Cyber Monday deals you can still shop," 27 Nov. 2018 Along the East Coast, sea level rise is a major concern, while the West is looking at the growing threat of wildfire. Scott K. Johnson, Ars Technica, "US tries to bury report on climate change’s dire health, economic impacts," 26 Nov. 2018 Getty Images As the latest string of California wildfires continue to burn and devastate the state, Queen Elizabeth has issued an official response to the tragedy. Kayleigh Roberts, Marie Claire, "The Queen Issued an Official Statement to Donald Trump About the California Wildfires," 18 Nov. 2018 At the same time, people are also responsible for starting the vast majority of wildfires. Umair Irfan, Vox, "Why the Camp Fire in Northern California is so severe," 14 Nov. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'wildfire.' 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 wildfire

12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for wildfire

Last Updated

27 Apr 2019

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Time Traveler for wildfire

The first known use of wildfire was in the 12th century

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More Definitions for wildfire



English Language Learners Definition of wildfire

: a fire in a wild area (such as a forest) that is not controlled and that can burn a large area very quickly


wild·​fire | \ ˈwīld-ˌfīr How to pronounce wildfire (audio) \

Kids Definition of wildfire

: an uncontrollable fire that destroys a wide area

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More from Merriam-Webster on wildfire

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with wildfire

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for wildfire

Spanish Central: Translation of wildfire

Nglish: Translation of wildfire for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about wildfire

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