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 The reaction of Republican lawmakers in Texas at the time — as temperatures broke records during its most destructive wildfire season — was to mock Democrats leading the reliably blue California. Shannon Larson, BostonGlobe.com, "Texas Republicans mocked California power outages. With their state now facing a disastrous storm, Cruz and others are facing backlash," 17 Feb. 2021 Warming is already wreaking havoc in many parts of the country—look at California’s gruesome wildfire season—and the effects are pretty much guaranteed to get worse in the decade ahead. Elizabeth Kolbert, The New Yorker, "A New Day for the Climate," 31 Jan. 2021 Forecasters issued the red-flag warning because the winds — along with very low humidity and an extended period of below-average rain — raised the wildfire risk, especially in the back country. Gary Robbins, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Santa Ana winds will fade, allowing for a mild and sunny Christmas in San Diego," 23 Dec. 2020 More than 8,000 Southern California Edison customers had their power turned off on Thanksgiving evening as high winds led to elevated wildfire risk last week. Lila Seidman, Los Angeles Times, "Santa Ana winds bring ‘critical situation for fire weather’," 30 Nov. 2020 Santa Ana winds will begin gusting across San Diego County on Thursday afternoon, raising the wildfire risk at about the time people are sitting down for Thanksgiving dinner, the San Diego Union Tribune reports. Julie Makinen, USA TODAY, "In California: A very purple Thanksgiving, and hunting your own turkey (or just a margarita)," 25 Nov. 2020 Still in drought: While rain is in the forecast for Friday, forecasters warn that wildfire risk is likely to persist for another month — possibly much longer. Taylor Kate Brown, SFChronicle.com, "Bay Briefing: Election Night 3.0," 6 Nov. 2020 In addition to the firefighter recruitment concerns, there’s also a budgetary shortfall for the agency to perform adequate year-round forest management work aimed at reducing wildfire risk. NBC News, "Federal wildland firefighters say they're burned out after years of low pay, little job stability," 31 Oct. 2020 Meanwhile, legislators in Sacramento have passed dozens of bills to address wildfire risk in the last few years, including six new laws on prescribed burns. Rebecca Miller, Scientific American, "Climate Change Is Central to California's Wildfires," 29 Oct. 2020

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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Time Traveler for wildfire

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for wildfire

Last Updated

26 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Wildfire.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wildfire. Accessed 27 Feb. 2021.

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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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