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

Once again, the state of California is being ravaged by a series of wildfires, which have displaced hundreds of thousands of residents and killed 31 people to date, according to CNN. Maggie Mallon, Glamour, "Here's How You Can Help Victims of the California Wildfires," 12 Nov. 2018 Jupiter’s expansive energy will feed off of Sagittarius’s wildfire, encouraging us to find real solutions to systemic problems. Aliza Kelly Faragher, Allure, "What Your Sign's November Horoscope Predictions Mean for You," 28 Oct. 2018 Nearly a year after 2017’s devastating wildfires, Napa is holding strong. Condé Nast Traveler, "The Best Cities in the U.S.: 2018 Readers' Choice Awards," 9 Oct. 2018 From tsunamis and floods, to blizzards and wildfires, the world is full of natural disasters. Discover Magazine, "Predicting Extreme Weather," 14 Sep. 2018 Attribution research has been crucial in recent years as local leaders have had to grapple with some of the country’s deadliest and most destructive wildfires, floods, and hurricanes. Alissa Walker, Curbed, "Hurricane Florence will dump up to 50 percent more rainfall due to climate change," 13 Sep. 2018 Aerosols emerge out of smoke billowing from a wildfire, ash hurtling out of volcano, or even dust blowing in the wind. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "NASA's Global Aerosol Map Reveals the Long Reach of our Planet's Disasters," 27 Aug. 2018 The overall economic damage from wildfires is tough to measure. Harriet Torry, WSJ, "Economic Damage From California Fires Spreads Further Than Blazes," 11 Dec. 2018 San Francisco Bay Area has had 10 continuous days of dangerously unhealthy air quality from the devastating November wildfires. Umair Irfan, Vox, "How improving air quality could add years to people’s lives around the world.," 21 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

5 Jan 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 \

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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someone who never drinks alcohol

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