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 According to a recent estimate from the University of Sydney, over 1 billion animals already may have died as officials warned that Australia's wildfire season -- which generally would last through March -- was nowhere near its end. Fox News, "As Australia fires rage, crews airdrop vegetables to feed starving animals," 13 Jan. 2020 The sunlight barely cut through a gray haze reminiscent of the wildfire smoke that Fairbanks often deals with in summer. Marc Lester, Anchorage Daily News, "So negative, yet so positive: At nearly 40 below zero, Fairbanks knows how to chill," 11 Jan. 2020 Fueled by drought and the country’s hottest and driest year on record, the fires began back in September — months earlier than is typical for Australia’s annual wildfire season. Ruth Kinane, EW.com, "Leonardo DiCaprio to donate $3 million to help wildfire relief efforts in Australia," 10 Jan. 2020 Some have traveled thousands of miles from different countries to help during what is called the worst wildfire season seen in decades. Amanda Jackson, CNN, "Photos shows exhausted Australian firefighters on break from battling bushfires," 9 Jan. 2020 Lizzo just happens to be performing in Australia while the country is experiencing one of its most devastating wildfire seasons to date. Caitlin O'kane, CBS News, "Lizzo, on tour in Australia, volunteers at food bank during wildfires," 8 Jan. 2020 In California, wildfire season is now longer than it’s ever been. Erika W. Smith, refinery29.com, "Can The Low-Carbon Diet Cure Our Climate Crisis?," 7 Jan. 2020 The fires, fueled by drought and the country’s hottest and driest year on record, have been raging since September, months earlier than is typical for Australia’s annual wildfire season. Nick Perry, BostonGlobe.com, "Australian crews race to contain blazes as damage bill soars," 7 Jan. 2020 Save the Redwoods League believes that active management will increase the forests’ resilience in the face of increasing wildfire threats, including the pathogen Phytophthora ramorum, which causes sudden oak death. Becki Robins, Scientific American, "To Save the Redwoods, Scientists Debate Burning and Logging," 20 Dec. 2019

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

19 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Wildfire.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wildfire. Accessed 26 January 2020.

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More Definitions for wildfire


How to pronounce wildfire (audio)

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for wildfire

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with wildfire

Spanish Central: Translation of wildfire

Nglish: Translation of wildfire for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about wildfire

Comments on wildfire

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to express in a more acceptable way

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