wild·fire | \ˈwī(-ə)ld-ˌfī(-ə)r \

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

Major Atlantic Ocean hurricanes, California wildfires and Mexico earthquakes made 2017 one of the costliest years ever for insurers. Leslie Scism, WSJ, "Even After Last Year’s Terrible Hurricanes, Insurers Are in Solid Shape," 30 June 2018 Across the nation, though, utilities have recoiled for a decade from storms of escalating intensity, including bigger hurricanes, as well as unprecedented wildfires and more mudslides. Bill Laitner, Detroit Free Press, "History of power outages riles metro Detroiters, DTE promises fixes," 28 June 2018 The congressional mandate requires the Defense Department to examine each threatened military installation for the effects of rising sea tides, increased flooding, drought, desertification, wildfires and thawing permafrost over the coming 20 years. Gerald Harris, USA TODAY, "Trump’s skepticism aside, the Navy is taking climate change seriously," 28 June 2018 After the 2017 wildfires and January mudslides in Santa Barbara County, these gardens still hold the natural treasure that keeps residents and visitors from around the world coming back. Jill K. Robinson, San Francisco Chronicle, "Santa Barbara serenity abounds in region’s 5 best public gardens," 14 June 2018 Again In the last 16 years, most of the damages caused by catastrophes like wildfires and hurricanes have been concentrated in just a few areas. Kendra Pierre-louis, New York Times, "Hurricanes Are Lingering Longer. That Makes Them More Dangerous.," 6 June 2018 This past year, wildfires and mudslides have ravaged California, and hurricanes have sluiced through Houston and Puerto Rico. Rachel Riederer, The New Republic, "Can Rivers Be People Too?," 9 May 2018 Nearly five million people registered for FEMA assistance from the storms and the California wildfires, more than in the last 10 years combined. CBS News, "FEMA says it underestimated the devastation Hurricane Maria would have on Puerto Rico," 12 July 2018 In parts of California, Colorado and Utah, hundreds of residents remain under evacuation orders because of the aggressive wildfires, the Weather Channel said. Editors, USA TODAY, "Thai cave rescue mission, World Cup, Hurricane Beryl: 5 things to know this weekend," 7 July 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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Phrases Related to wildfire

spread like wildfire

Statistics for wildfire

Last Updated

12 Oct 2018

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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 \

Kids Definition of wildfire

: an uncontrollable fire that destroys a wide area

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Comments on wildfire

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


exaggeratedly or childishly emotional

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