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Fire: A complete guide to not burning down your house

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Maybe my search-fu is getting rusty, but I couldn”t find a good explanation for how fire spreads. The few I found were guesswork or obviously wrong. It surprised me that the details weren”t on the wiki either. I therefore present the result of my own research.

Warning: Back up your world before trying! I have had complete success with the following methods, but you never know…

Fire
Don”t think of blocks as being on fire or not. The important thing to remember is that fire is a block that can only live next to combustible materials. When a block of fire exists, it may spread to any other available block (i.e. a block of air) inside a volume of 3x3x6 meters. There is no checking for available paths, so you can not stop fire from spreading by placing stone blocks in between.

This is where fire may spread, as seen from the side:
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Remember that the fire shown doesn”t have to be on the top of a block. It can also be on the side of a block. In the following example, the side of a wooden block is on fire, and all the logs are in danger of catching fire.

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Only one of these logs is inside the zone where fire may spread, but the other logs enable the fire to spread to the block on one of their sides.

How to shrink the fire zone
Since fire can only spread to (and replace) blocks of air, you can replace air-blocks with something else to prevent spread. In the example above, logs 5 meters above the fire are in danger, because the blocks underneath are available. By placing the logs one step lower, and filling in the fire zone underneath with something non-flammable, you can save one meter.

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Personally, I prefer not putting a wooden floor above the fire. You wouldn”t do it in real life either. Build a chimney instead; it looks better.

When creating a fireplace, you usually place your fire on top of a block of netherrack. To prevent the floor from catching fire, simply block off the sides of the netherrack:

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Remember that fire can spread indirectly. If you place the block of netherrack one level above the floor, the side of it can catch fire, thus allowing the fire to spread one extra block. In other words, don”t do this:

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Edit: Actually, this is probably only true if you are burning something other than netherrack. The sides of netherrack can not be set on fire, and fire never spreads to netherrack. for the info>

Remember that half-plates occupy the entire block too. If you want a raised fire, you can surround the netherrack with half-plates just as well as any other non-combustible materials.

Making it even smaller (for permanent fires only)
I don”t have a single player world to test this in, so I can only vouch for it in multiplayer. Also, it is dangerous. If you light the fire with nothing combustible touching the fire zone, the game seems to forget that the fire can spread. Maybe it is some kind of optimisation. Therefore, you can simply build your wooden structure after lighting the fire.

Edit: The reason is that fire stops updating after 15 ticks. for the info>

I don”t recommend this, though. You may be fine with it in single player mode, but in multiplayer, some sod will be sure to come along and put the fire out by accident. Shortly afterwards, he will watch in astonishment at what happens when he tries to re-ignite it.

Another possible problem is that the game may re-check the fire zone based on other triggers. Some forum threads suggest that walking into the fire will cause such a zone check. I wouldn”t be surprised if throwing something into the fire did the same.

I will update this post if I find out something more about exactly how this works.
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Fire: A complete guide to not burning down your house

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