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Kill It with Fire

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"Of course you should fight fire with fire. You should fight everything with fire."
Jaya Ballard, task mage, Magic: The Gathering, Sizzle


When Prometheus handed Homo sapiens the gift of fire, he did not just give humanity the light of science, reason, progress, invention, technology, and ergo the power to rival God, but also the means to dispatch just about any monster imaginable. Considering how Greek Mythology is a Fantasy Kitchen Sink full of all kinds of abominations, that was a good thing. The symbolism behind this has to do with fire's associations with purification and light, and partly because it represents humanity's dominion over the natural world. More literally, a burning stick was humankind's first effective defence against nocturnal predators, with an added bonus of extermination of parasites in food. The fact that burn pain is one of the strongest kinds of pain a human being can experience probably doesn't hurt either.


Also, in a pinch, it can still burn things, or at least scare them off. Arrows on Fire, Flaming Swords, Molotov Cocktails, flamethrowers, or good old Torches and Pitchforks can work wonders when dealing with everything from Frankenstein's Monster to a Monster House.

This is prevalent not just in myth and fiction or games based on it, but also in works that are completely new and unrelated. For example, the Hydra and Trolls demonstrate one of the most frequent, and logical, applications for anti-monster fire: It prevents regeneration. In the case of The Undead, usually they're too dumb and slow to put it out (zombies), it reminds them of the sun (vampires), or they're already walking kindling (mummies). Other times it's used to make sure whatever just got killed stays that way. Aliens, of course, can be Immune to Bullets, but will burn up nicely in a fire. Witches and heretics for a long time were considered to be in league with evil as well, and so it was a common myth that they were dealt with in the same manner. And, needless to say, it's a very good strategy for When Trees Attack.


You know what the best part of Kill It with Fire is? It works on regular people wearing masks too. Kind of like decapitation (which also works on most things) and a Wooden Stake through the heart.

If something's too big or tough for a regular fire, you can always use plasma or Hurl It into the Sun. This has also been subject to Memetic Mutation, as an alternative name for Brain Bleach.

A character who's a little too enthusiastic about using this can become a Pyro Maniac. A character may try in vain to use this trope, but be faced with a Hard-to-Light Fire.

See also Incendiary Exponent, Man on Fire, Burn Baby Burn, Fire-Breathing Weapon, Burn the Witch! and Hellfire (for when mundane fire doesn't do the job). Compare Stuff Blowing Up, and Playing with Fire — for when someone has fire as a Stock Superpower. When this just makes things worse, see Infernal Retaliation. The less-used opposite is either Kill It with Water or Kill It with Ice, or even Heal It with Fire.

Not to be confused with Example Sectionectomy, although this trope often tends to be used as a Pothole Magnet for such within Trope Repair Shop by those who ironically enough, want to kill Pothole Magnets.

NOTE: Due to the above-mentioned Memetic Mutation, the name of this trope has become associated with anything that someone finds abhorrent and wishes to not have witnessed. This trope is not about those things. Please redirect all potholes using this trope in said context to Brain Bleach or a similarly appropriate trope.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Parasyte, the eponymous aliens are almost completely defenseless against fire. Ditto with acids. Due to said aliens' Bizarre Alien Biology, anything that humans shouldn't get on their skin can be turned into a somewhat effective weapon.
  • In Rumiko Takahashi's Mermaid Saga, there are three ways to kill immortals: decapitation, a very particular poison, and burning them down to ashes.
  • In Delicious in Dungeon, this is the go-to way to kill undines. Which is kind of odd, considering they're water spirits.
  • Subverted in Mushishi. When a village and their resident mushishi finally decide to burn a parasitic plant mushi, but after doing so discover that the mushi intentionally takes over like kudzu in order to be burned so the mushi can enter its even more dangerous adult form. After some time spent contemplating the results, Ginko eventually determines that the better option is to hoist it by its own petard, using the adult form to kill the plant form.
  • Berserk:
    • When Guts is attacked by several small fairy demons during the Rosine arc, he kills them by leaping into the fire he recently started. Guts is like that.
    • Schierke, during the battle in the city against the Kushan demon soldiers, proceeds to incinerate a whole bunch of them by summoning a giant fire wheel to set them ablaze.
    • Farnese's role as the figurehead of the Holy Iron Chain Knights is to investigate reported miracles for the Holy See... which directly translates to "burning people who don't believe or don't believe enough in the Holy See's religion at the stake." And getting off on it. Plus, her history with pets and servants that didn't please her.
  • As per Burn the Witch!, Evangeline's hunters in Mahou Sensei Negima! during the middle-ages have attempted to kill her this way (fire over ice, right???). It didn't work.
  • Claude "Torch" Weaver, A.K.A. The Crazy Flamethrower Mormon, from Black Lagoon's "Greenback Jane" arc.
  • King of Thorn:
    • Some particularly tough octopus-like monsters prove vulnerable to good old-fashioned incineration.
    • Likewise, this is how Alice deals with the Medusa virus when it takes the form of Laloo. However, the smoke from the fire is what likely caused the virus to spread.
  • In Tiger & Bunny, Lunatic is a '90s Anti-Hero who eschews other heroes' ideals of justice in favor of using his NEXT powers over fire to burn criminals to a crisp.
  • Durarara!!:
    • In one of his... less stable moments, Izaya sets his whole game board on fire. Also, Walker sets the Blue Squares leader's van on fire with molotovs when he and the rest of the gang rescue Saki.
      • Walker's preferred fighting method seems to be lighting people on fire. Later on, he uses flammable fluid as a method of intimidation, a spray can and a lighter to defend himself from rogue Dollars members, and he sets Ran Izumii on fire again. Twice.. It's especially ironic because of his day job as an ice sculptor.
    • And in volume 8 Mikado ends up setting someone on fire. On purpose.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist: There is a reason why Roy Mustang is known as the Flame Alchemist. How did he become a war hero in the Ishvalan Civil War? He used his unique flame alchemy, which utilizes the oxygen in the air and special spark-gloves to throw MASSIVE STREAMS OF FIRE.
    • One of his most triumphant fights is with Lust. Roy is mostly useless when water is used against him; however, using Havoc's lighter and the hydrogen in the water, he was able to create a devastating fire attack that took her by surprise. Then there is the end-fight for Roy; he seared his wound to stop bleeding to death, carved a transmutation circle directly upon his hand, and with a lighter, incinerated Lust multiple times until she finally died.
    • Roy's "fight" with Envy later in the manga takes everything seen in the fight with Lust Up to Eleven; Roy pinpoints his attacks to vulnerable spots like the tongue and eyes to make Envy's death as painful as possible, and eventually his rage becomes so strong that he starts spamming massive fire blasts while Envy screams in agony.
  • After acquiring the Legendary Orb of Fire from Mount Aso, Yaiba's answer to any threat becomes "Toss a Giant Fireball at them".
  • From Cowboy Bebop, in the eleventh episode 'Toys in the Attic', Spike attempts to kill the It Came from the Fridge Eldritch Abomination with a blowtorch/flamethrower. It's still alive afterward, but it was a valiant effort.
  • In Sailor Moon's first season penultimate episode, Sailor Mars destroys two of the DD Girls in succession with her Fire Soul attack. The first she kills while trapped in an ice dome by the second. The second electrocutes her and leaves her for dead... then Mars grabs her and, with the last of her power, ("Fire...SOUL!!!") obliterates her before dying.
  • In the Excel Saga manga, Hyatt catches on fire, horrifying Excel and Elgala and leaving them wondering if burning could cause her Final Death. It doesn't kill her, but her incinerated skin just flakes off, revealing a pristine Hyatt beneath it.
  • In Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, the people of the Valley of the Wind force their conquerors to give them flamethrowers so they can expunge an invasive outcrop of poisonous spores. Then, they turn around and use them to drive out their conquerors.
  • Naruto:
    • The Uchiha Clan are renowned for their fire-based jutsus. Then there is Uchiha Madara himself. He can create Fire Release Jutsu so wide and powerful they require dozens of Alliance Water Release Jutsu users to dispel, or Mei Terumi the Mizukage (arguably the strongest currently living Water Release user) to counter.
    • As are Jiraiya and Hiruzen Sarutobi, both have extremely powerful Katon (Fire Release) jutsus. One that Jiraiya created, with the help of Gamabunta, was so large it filled in the entire valley that they were fighting in, and one that Hiruzen created needed the Second Hokage, Tobirama Senju to extinguish. In Sage Mode Jiraiya's Katons, now regularly empowered by oil become so strong he can reduce a target to ash with Senpo: Goemon (with the help of Fukasaku and Shima), which sends a wave of fiery oil at the target.
    • Last not least, the black fire, Amaterasu, that Itachi and Sasuke use, bursts forth at the focus of the user sight and can never be extinguished, until the thing it targets is incinerated... even if the target is fire itself.
  • Flame of Recca: Guess what the protagonist's superpower is...?
  • Bleach:
    • Reserved only for captain-rank criminals who have bound them to the gallows on Soukyoku Hill, is execution via activating the Spear of Soukyoku, the most powerful zanpakutou ever created. It transforms into a huge firebird to incinerate the criminal's soul via purification fire. It's the only known non-Quincy method for destroying a soul. Given that destroying souls can disrupt the Balance of Souls, threatening existence itself, this execution method is only used in truly exceptional circumstances.
    • In the fourth film, the only way to kill Taikon and Gunjo is to submerge them in a pool of lava.
  • In Rurouni Kenshin, the government grew wary of Makoto Shishio because he knew too much about their seedier operations since he was Kenshin's replacement as Manslayer. Unlike Kenshin, Shishio was also ambitious enough to use that knowledge against the government while Kenshin became a Technical Pacifist wandering atoner. They tried to preempt a coup by dousing Shishio in oil and set him on fire. Shishio survived though his entire body was covered in horrible burns. Years later, he does attempt to overthrow the government. Though the initial attempt to burn him to death failed, the permanent damage done to his body ultimately does kill him during his final battle with Kenshin.
  • In Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit, this turns out to be Ra Runga's weakness.
  • Variable Geo: In the OVA adaptation, Satomi gains her own rendition of Kyo Kusanagi's 'Ura 121 Shiki Ama no Murakumo'. Meaning, she incinerates everything that's in front of her with massive plumes of flame that are 2-stories high and spread outward along the ground at high-speed. Which she used to end her match with Yuuki.
  • The titular character in Tomie is nigh unkillable and apparently immortal, able to heal from any wound and regenerate from a single cell (always with copious amounts of Body Horror). If she's chopped up, the pieces will all form into separate Tomies (including the blood), and she can seemingly survive completely submerged or encased forever; the only method of killing her that has any lasting effect is to burn her remains into a crisp.
  • In My Hero Academia, fire is the only established way to nullify the Super Regeneration quirk that all black Nomu seem to have. Twice, Endeavor has killed them by burning their heads with fire hot and concentrated enough to incinerate them beyond the ability to heal.
  • In Fairy Tail, burning people to death is Zancrow's go-to method to deal with both his enemies and the "trash" of his own guild that's too weak. He nearly inflicts this fate on Natsu (who's normally immune to fire) and Makarov before Natsu figures out the trick to nullify Zancrow's fire and use it against him.

    Card Games 
  • In Magic: The Gathering, this is the classic endgame strategy of mono-red: when the opponent builds an army and all other colors' offenses would stall, the red mage points a spell at the opponent's face and torches him to death directly.
    • In the game's infancy, Red's strategy was Kill it with Lightning.
    • Mid-game, it's also helpful to wipe out an opponent's creatures with cards like Incinerate, Fireball, and Inferno.
    • Then there's the character of Jaya Ballard, who's this trope. She's appeared on the flavor texts of over a dozen red spells, including Incinerate and Inferno, and her own card pays homage to these spells.
      "Some people have said there's no subtlety to destruction. You know what? They're dead."
      "Of course you should fight fire with fire. You should fight everything with fire."
      "Yes, I think 'toast' is an appropriate description."
    • Chandra Nalaar seems to be the new Jaya Ballard.
      • Chandra was even taught by Jaya that, "When in doubt, use the biggest fire spell you know." Given that her ultimate abilities are some of the biggest explosions ever seen in red, she's learned quite well.
      • And like Ms. Ballard, she has a few good one-liners of her own on the subject:
        "Who'd want to ignite things one at a time?"
        "Spontaneous combustion is a myth. If you burst into flame, someone wanted you to."
      • In-story, Chandra has done possibly the biggest "Kill it with fire!" feat so far: burn two of the Eldrazi titans to death.
      • Doesn't work out so well for her in Amonkhet when she tries it against Nicol Bolas. Bolas calls her an idiot for trying to use fire against a dragon.
        Nicol Bolas: "Fire? Is that your only trick, Chandra?"
    • Sarkhan Vol fights fire with dragonfire.
    • Ugin the Spirit Dragon uses ghostfire, which is both colorless and invisible.
  • "Burn" techniques are a good way of reducing your opponent's LP to cinders in Yu-Gi-Oh!. You should be able to guess which Attribute has all of the best burners (hint: it's red and has the Kanji for fire on it).
  • For a long time in Pokémon TCG, Charizard was the most powerful and valuable card. It destroyed almost every opponent in one hit and had the most HP ever seen. Unfortunately, the ability is quite expensive leading you to "burn away" your deck, though some strategies center around this.

    Comic Books 
  • Aside from sonic weapons, fire is the only other weapon generally effective against the symbiotes that give Spider-Man such a hard time.
  • Superman:
    • Krypton No More a crook tries to torch Superman with a flamethrower. It would seem it is his standard operating procedure since he holds that it always works and he is actually shocked when Superman doesn't get burned.
    • In War World, Superman gets forced to fight Martian Manhunter, and although he doesn't want to kill J'onn, he knows fire weakens Martians, so he uses his heat vision to ignite the ground around them, and then he punches J'onn out.
  • In Supergirl Vol 2 issue #23, a pyrokinetic mutant attempts—and fails—to burn Supergirl to ashes.
  • The Martian Manhunter generally has powers on par with Superman, plus a few extra—but he's not fireproof. DC seems to keep going back and forth on whether this is a physical vulnerability or a psychological problem.
    • It also applies to the evil White Martians. And Batman took a good advantage on this.
  • In Mike Mignola's Hellboy and B.P.R.D. comics, it seems like every encounter with the Lovecraftian underlings of the Ogdru Jahad ends with pyrokinetic Liz Sherman burning the Thing(s) to cinders. Subverted in the most recent case, as it's been revealed that burning Katha Hem to dust didn't quite put him to rest.
  • This backfires in spectacular fashion in Fables. When Fabletown is attacked by a horde of wooden puppet-men, they have the battlefield strafed with a bit of dragonfire. When Pinocchio sees this, he desperately tries to point out that they're made out of hardwood, and that while they will burn and die eventually in the meantime they've now got an army of nigh-unkillable flaming puppet men to deal with.
  • Willy Petenote . The terrifying, near-invincible Knight of Cerebus from Empowered kills anything that gets near him with fire, as he's a "goddamn fire elemental" whose body burns hotter than the surface of the sun and who's been shown to produce a mind-bogglingly massive amount of flame. Those who aren't afraid of him tend not to learn that they should be until it's far, far too late.
  • Vampirella:
    • In "The Resurrection of Papa Voudou", the zombified Papa Voudou cannot be harmed by bullets or melee attacks, so Vampirella kills him again with the fire on a brazier.
    • In "She who Waits" the Cobra Queen is killed when Pendragon uses his brandy as fuel for a fire.
  • In the Godzilla (2014) tie-in comic Godzilla: Awakening, the only way to kill Shinomura is to destroy each and every cell, the most effective way? Burn it. The nuke that was used on Godzilla in 1954 was also used to kill what was left of it.
  • Ultimate Spider-Man:
    • In order to dispose of the Venom sample and Carnage (not at the same time), Peter drops them down a smoke-stack.
    • Johnny Storm tries this when dealing with the Green Goblin. Unfortunately, it not only doesn't work, it temporarily makes Norman stronger.
  • When the revivers of Revival are reunited with their Passenger, both go out in a literal blaze of glory.
  • In Wynonna Earp: Home on the Strange, Wynonna uses a flamethrower to destroy the Postmonster General and his zombie mailmen.

    Fan Works 
  • The Parselmouth of Gryffindor shows Fiendfyre to be one of the only things that can harm Dementors. Barty Crouch Jr (and Hermione herself) don't have to be told twice.
  • Adopted Displaced - Wily's Wittle Wub: During the arc based on Mega Man 4, Toad Man does a certain... impression (personality-wise, he's essentially a mix of Hexxus and Dr. Frank N Furter). Mega Man's response is to freak out, fire an endless barrage of charged shots, and then namedrop this trope and somehow summon a flamethrower. Toad Man doesn't survive the ensuing attack.
  • Batman Beyond Revisited:
    • The way that Jake defeats the demon Charlie Charlie.
    • Chainsaw later tries this with Inque, but it’s turned against him.
  • Better Angels has Shane Walsh emulating Rick's actions during the Zerg Rush at Hershel's farm by setting the barn on fire, roasting the Walkers trapped inside.
  • Examples from the Calvinverse:
  • Children of an Elder God: In chapter 1 billions of spiders -whose sizes range from spawned by an Eldritch Abomination are flooding the city. As Shinji and Misato are running from them, Shinji sees a man setting himself on fire to burn away dozens of spiders clinging to his body.
  • Inner Demons: Part of Queen!Twilight's crossing of the Moral Event Horizon involves this. After a very cruel Sadistic Choice (see that page for details) she locks Applejack, Fluttershy, Pinkie Pie, and Rainbow Dash inside Sugarcube Corner and sets the building on fire. Fortunately, the Elements of Harmony protect them.
  • In Luminosity, as in the text it's based on, this is the only way to consistently kill a vampire.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion: Genocide: The final enemy -a clone of Kaworu tries to burn Rei down. It doesn’t work: he sets fire to her clothes but she remains untouched.
  • Averted in The Immortal Game. During their rematch in the latter half, Celestia attempts to incinerate Terra, but Titan intervenes and prevents it.
    • Averted again during the second battle of Ponyville; Twilight tries to kill Terra with a concentrated beam of molten iron, but it runs out before she can finish her off.
  • In A Growing Affection, Naruto wants to make sure an Akatsuki base and its resources are unrecoverable. So he sets it on fire. With a jutsu. That he learned from the Nine-Tails. Without the demon properly explaining how the technique works. He ends up engulfing the base in a roughly one-mile diameter circle of napalm.
  • In the climax of Fever Dreams Light holds the Death Note in the fire until it burns to ash even though his hands are burning along with it.
  • Near the end of Bad Alert: The Extreme, Courtney Gears gets hit by a firebomb off-screen, courtesy of Hades, right in front of Ratchet and Clank (and, through an unknown force, Aqua).
  • In System Restore, the second murderer traps their victim in their own cabin and sets it on fire.
  • In Delenda Est, Harry makes a habit of using Fiendfyre, to the point that Voldemort considers it his trademark.
  • In this Crisis Core fanfic/recipe set, we learn that Genesis has some very strong opinions as to what qualifies as "actual" bread:
    "In Genesis' universe, square bread is a skin-crawling abomination against nature and must (like many other things) be promptly cleansed with fire."
  • In the Slender Man fic By the Fire's Light, it is not the heroes but the Slender Man itself who uses fire to kill things and cleanse the Earth of things it finds abhorrent (which is pretty much everything).
  • In Home Is Where The Haunt Is, Dipper defeats Mr. Mason this way, by burning down the house, after discovering that Mr. Mason's soul was actually the living house itself.
  • In Game of Touhou, House Fujiwara, led by Mokou, have this philosophy that enemies must burn. Selenion, Yorihime's pet dragon, can breathe fire and uses it to kill everything that crosses his path.
  • Ferris: This is done repeatedly. Chryssalids have a vulnerability to flame in this universe, just like they do in XCOM Enemy Within.
  • In Origins, a Mass Effect/Star Wars/Borderlands/Halo Massive Multiplayer Crossover, dealing with the Flood is best done with either extreme cold or extreme heat. Most handheld weapons are changed to use incendiary ammo as a result, and Aria burns whole sections of Omega in an attempt to control the problem. The heat energy conveyed by turbolasers is also noted to be particularly effective.
  • In Promstuck, Eridan comes to the conclusion that arson is the only way to get rid of the chaperones, and convinces Nepeta to help. Nepeta winds up burning down everything, killing everyone. Cue restart.
    Eridan: wwhen all else fails use fire nep are you gettin wwhat im glubbin aboat here
    Nepeta: >:(( < you know what i am drunk and i am not at all afurraid of the police
    Nepeta: >:33 < lets do it
  • Subverted in Bungle in the Jungle: A Harry Potter Adventure. Inferi are weak against fire, which means anyone using them to protect something include traps that are activated by fire. According to Bill, flammable gas is the most common. Comes up again in the sequel when Harry points out that Draco's answer of using a fire spell to hold off an inferius doesn't actually defeat it, merely either makes it someone else's problem or causes it to eat you after you exhaust yourself holding it off.

    Films — Animation 
  • Played with at the beginning of Shrek: One member of the angry mob waves a torch in Shrek's face, hoping to scare him. Shrek licks his fingers and calmly snuffs the flame out.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Star Wars:
    • Boba Fett has a flamethrower mounted on his gauntlet. His tendency to disintegrate bounties with it is lampshaded by Darth Vader.
      Darth Vader: No disintegrations.
      Boba Fett: As you wish.
    • Apparently, Jango Fett gets this in his armor's gauntlet as well... which he used to try and disintegrate Mace Windu.
  • An aging JFK (Ossie Davis in a wheelchair) and Elvis (Bruce Campbell, natch) use fire to vanquish the mummy in Bubba Ho-Tep.
  • In The Thing (1982), the smallest part of the alien life form is capable of mutation and assimilation, so the only sure way to destroy it completely is with fire. But even then, it's not even particularly flammable. Fire is the only way to do it, but it's still not a very good way.
  • The Return of the Living Dead:
    • Both applied and subverted: because the zombies in that movie can't be brought down with simple headshots, the only way to destroy the first one is to incinerate it... but that just causes more problems, because the ashes get into the clouds and the next good rain soaks the land with Trioxin, which carries the virus on. Cue the Zombie Apocalypse! Electricity is shown to do the job later.
    • Speaking of the first film, Burt Wilson is making last-minute arrangements for the yellow zombie, which he and his employees cut up earlier when Removing the Head or Destroying the Brain doesn't kill it, to be completely obliterated by the oven.
      Burt Wilson: You're absolutely certain that this is gonna get rid of everything and do the trick? I mean, nothing left?
      [Ernie shakes his head]
      Ernie Kaltenbrunner: Nothing but a little-bitty pile of ashes.
      Burt Wilson: We don't even want the ashes!
      [Ernie smiles and leans over the metal grate]
      Ernie Kaltenbrunner: Then I'll turn it up higher, and we'll burn up the ashes, too.
      [Ernie slides the zombie into the oven]
      Ernie Kaltenbrunner: Dust to dust.
  • Subverted in Evolution; the military plots to destroy the largest sample of the alien entity with tons upon tons of napalm. However, as the scientists find out right as the plan is about to be carried out, fire makes the thing reproduce even faster; a small sample in a petri dish exposed to the flame of a lit match is enough to make it overtake one wall of the room they were in. Instead, the day is saved with dandruff shampoo Head & Shoulders.
  • The xenomorphs in the Alien films have an aversion to fire. Furthermore, flamethrowers prove to be the best weapons against them in close quarters since it largely avoids spilling the creature's blood, which is dangerously corrosive.
    Ash: Most animals retreat from fire, yes?
  • Subverted in The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms. The giant dinosaur could be killed with fire, or with most other things, but fire would carry its diseased particles all over the world and we'd all die anyway.
  • The last resort of The Rock, should The So-Called Coward and the Gentleman Thief fail to recover the weaponized phlebotinum, involves the Air Force drenching the island in thermite. For those of you who don't know, thermite is fire Up to Eleven squared.note 
  • In Gremlins 2: The New Batch, Gizmo kills the spider gremlin with a flaming arrow made from a pencil and a bottle of white-out corrective fluid.
  • Godzilla:
    • In Godzilla vs. Hedorah, hippies partying on a mountain try attacking Hedorah by throwing torches. It obviously doesn't work and the ones that aren't the main human characters die very quickly.
    • Also, in Godzilla vs. Destoroyah, when the military realized that fire is super effective against Destoroyah's aggregate forms, they use heat weapons from thereon.
    • In Godzilla (2014), Ford kills the MUTO clutch by knocking the valves off a fuel truck, setting them on fire, and running very fast. And, of course, Godzilla's atomic breath, which takes the form of a blue-hot fire stream. Godzilla later force-fed the female MUTO his atomic breath.
  • In Dawn of the Dead (2004), they burn a group of zombies behind a fence trying to get through by pouring petrol over them. Later they use gas canisters to knock over and kill zombies to get through the masses. On the DVD extras, however, one character says that Molotov cocktails don't do anything but make them smell like burnt meat... and make him hungry.
  • In Live and Let Die, James Bond kills a snake with a makeshift flamethrower, and in Licence to Kill, he sets the Big Bad on fire using a lighter (though said villain was covered in gasoline, so it's plausible).
  • The giant radioactive ants in the classic monster movie Them! (1954) are hunted through the Los Angeles storm drains by the protagonists armed with flamethrowers.
  • Office Space. Either averted or played straight, depending on how much of an unholy abomination you consider the office building to be.
  • In Outbreak, this is the government response to a local outbreak of a deadly virus. (More specifically, using the fire caused by a fuel-air bomb to starve the place of oxygen. No oxygen, no hosts; no hosts, no virus.)
  • The 1931 version of Frankenstein ends with the Monster being trapped in a burning windmill, and (presumably) killed. As we find out in Bride of Frankenstein, it didn't quite do the trick...
  • In Westworld, Richard Benjamin's character attempts to do this to the Yul Brenner Gunslinger robot. Doesn't quite work, though.
  • In Outlander, the Moorwens were driven to the brink of extinction by the firebombing of their homeworld. Kainan replicates this in ancient Norway, by luring the solitary Moorwen into a pit filled with whale oil and lighting it on fire. It only succeeds in singeing and ticking off the creature.
  • Subverted in Child's Play, where the protagonists burn devil doll Chucky to a crisp. It only makes him angrier and freakier-looking.
  • Subverted in The Terminator, when destroying the titular indestructible death-robot's gasoline truck seems to work for a little bit, but his creepy-ass metal endoskeleton just gets up again after a few seconds, despite the fact that all its skin just got burned off. When fire just isn't hot enough, you can always try molten iron, as in the second film.
  • In The Crawling Eye, the titular alien creatures are destroyed when the Air Force napalms the mountainside where they had gathered. Whether such techniques were necessary aren't really known, though, since it was the first thing the humans had tried.
  • The Elite Squad has the drug dealers using a Truth in Television technique known as "microwave" - the victim is put inside a pile of tires, which are then set on fire (during the shooting of that scene, the criminal "consultants" had to remind the ones being burned to scream horribly).
  • This was the original solution to the Freddy Krueger problem in A Nightmare on Elm Street. Partially subverted, considering he just came back as a dream demon with horrible burn scars.
  • What ultimately happens (probably by accident) to the Third Castle in Ran, preventing Lord Hidetora's seppuku by driving him insane. Well, that and the broken sword.
  • 1408: This is how the room is finally destroyed.
  • Inglourious Basterds. Shosanna fills the theatre with Nazis and burns it to the ground.
  • Montag of The Wizard of Gore has magically summoned fire and... the fiance runs in and pushes him into the fire, where he burns to death horribly. The fiance claims that he was going to force everyone to walk into the fire. Except that the talk show host states that it makes no sense for him to hypnotize a TV audience, and then to create the fire in that one location.
  • In most zombie films, only a headshot will terminate the walking dead. In The Living Dead at Manchester Morgue, also known as Let Sleeping Corpses Lie, zombies are primarily killed with fire. And they go up pretty easy.
  • The final airstrike in Platoon, in response to a request by The Captain to "expend all remaining ordnance on my pos", includes plenty of napalm mixed in with regular bombs. The firestorm almost obliterates everything and everyone left.
  • In Apocalypse Now, Kilgore leads his men into battle in a formation of helicopters in order to storm a beach with "Ride of the Valkyries" playing to intimidate the enemy, all so that they could surf on the beach for that day. Naturally the Vietnamese suffer plenty of fire from the helicopters and the men on the ground but the climax of the battle comes when Colonel Kilgore calls in a massive air strike that obliterates the opposition. As Kilgore watches this he famously expresses how much he loves to kill things with fire, even going so far as to reminisce about a massive air strike he witnessed during an earlier battle during the Vietnam War where he marveled at all the destruction that the bombs caused, remarking to Captain Willard and Private Lance:
    Colonel Kilgore: You smell that?
    Private Lance: What?!
    Kilgore: Napalm son. Nothing else in the world smells like that. I love the smell of napalm in the morning. You know one time we had a hill bombed for 12 hours and when it was all over I walked up. We didn't find one of 'em, not one stinking dink body. The smell... you know that gasoline smell. The whole hill. It smelled like... [sniffs the air, pondering for a moment] victory. [mortar strike goes off behind him, Colonel Kilgore doesn't even flinch] Someday this war is gonna end.
  • In Dagon fire seems to work well on the fish men and their cult.
  • Final Destination 3. Tanning bed death. You know the one.
  • Completely averted in, "Tomie: Another Face", one of the movie adaptations of the manga, Tomie, where the eponymous Nigh Invulnerable Body Horrorific teenage girl is burned in the incinerator by the Doomed Protagonist. However, her burned ashes gather up and create her face in the air, reminding the protagonist that she will never die and that every single one of her ashes will become a new Tomie.
  • In Tarantula the only way to destroy the eponymous giant spider is for the Air Force to napalm it.
  • In The Street Fighter's Last Revenge, Terry deals with a Yakuza mook in a mariachi costume at a funeral home in this manner after a fight that leaves one table knocked over, a brick wall mildly crumbled, a casket's lid shattered, and the casket itself in poor condition by the time the mariachi finds himself inside the oven.
  • In True Lies, Ahnold turns a fuel truck into a hilariously effective flamethrower by shooting the nozzle.
  • In Transformers, Agent Simmons tries this on Frenzy. Doesn't work though.
  • In the first Blade film, Blade uses fire on one of his enemies. This doesn't kill Quinn (who is a vampire) but it probably makes him wish it had, at least for a while. Funnily enough, Blade probably only set him on fire as a new form of bullying Quinn.
    Blade: Quinn, I'm getting a little tired of chopping you up. I thought I might try fire, for a change.
  • In the climax of Anaconda, they try to kill the largest Anaconda by setting it on fire after it's trapped in a factory pipe. This ends in a bit of Infernal Retaliation as it still goes after them while it's on fire before it slinks away in the water. Even that doesn't kill it, and it takes a pick-axe to the skull for the Anaconda to ultimately die.
  • In The Last Witch Hunter, the hunters in the prologue destroy the Plague Tree by burning it down, and Kaulder's sword can be set on fire for witch hunting. It's even in Axe and Cross' motto, "by iron and fire".
  • In The Windmill Massacre, Jennifer interprets Takashi's vision as meaning that they can kill Miller Hendrik by burning down the mill. This works, and Miller Hendrik bursts into flame when the mill catches fire. Although it proves to be only temporary for both Hendrik and the mill.
  • In Bats, the Plucky Comic Relief uses a home-made flamethrower to (quite gleefully) burn several bats when they come to attack the school the heroes turned into their headquarters.
  • Dr. Terror's House of Horrors: Fire turns out to be the one thing the Man-Eating Plant in "Creeping Vine" is afraid of. The final shot, of the vine batting out the flames left behind by the humans, leaves open the question of whether the plant is truly defeated.
  • Sunshine: A literal case of fighting fire with fire occurs when a fire breaks out in the garden that supplies the spaceship's oxygen the Master Computer predicts it will burn for hours, endangering the entire ship. The decision is made to flood the garden with oxygen, causing a flash fire which consumes all the oxygen at once, thereby extinguishing the fire. Of course this just leads to more problems.
  • Rim of the World: The aliens' potent Healing Factor, which allows them to survive things up to and including being shot by fighter jets and being torn in half, is negated by fire — the alien "dog" is roasted by the landing pod's rear jet, and the alien itself dies when Alex sets off a test rocket when it's standing in front of its exhaust.

  • In Daniel Handler's A Series of Unfortunate Events: In the Village of Fowl Devotees, burning at the stake is the designated punishment for breaking any of the town's numerous rules (which includes the biggies like murder, but also trivial and ridiculous offenses like using mechanical devices, reading certain books, and talking out of turn in town meetings).
  • In Glen Cook's Garrett, P.I. books, this is how Garrett kills a nest of vampires.
  • In John Hodgman's second book, More Information Than You Require, he says of rats: "You must kill them all. Do it with fire."
    • He says the same thing about infestations of Scottie Dogs and... tides.
    • Fire works well for most household pests. But for replicants, you've just got to bite the bullet and hire a Blade Runner.
  • In Masques, the refugees hide away from the undead monsters in a cave. Conveniently, the cave comes with protection runes, that make a wall of flames appear when the undead try to enter it. Quite effective, but the smell of roasted undead is nasty.
  • The Monster Plant Beasties from The Day of the Triffids are especially vulnerable to flamethrowers, as they can't tell where the flame is coming from and panic, sometimes setting their allies on fire as well. Too bad there's a fuel shortage due to that Cosy Catastrophe...
    • It's not so much a case of panicking as even noticing: flamethrowers are more effective than guns because Triffids don't appear to have any vital organs. (Following the same principle, shotguns work better than handguns or rifles.)
  • Harry Potter and Dumbledore use it to drive off the Inferi at the end of The Half-Blood Prince. And in Deathly Hallows, Fiendfyre turns out to be one of the few ways to destroy Horcruxes.
    • Notable for the brilliant exchange between Harry and Dumbledore that went something like...
      Dumbledore: However, like many creatures that dwell in cold and darkness, they fear light and warmth, which we shall, therefore, call to our aid should the need arise.
      Harry: (bewildered expression)
      Dumbledore: Fire, Harry.
      Harry: Oh... right...
  • J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings:
    • In the first fight against the Ringwraiths, swords prove ineffective, so Aragorn grabs a flaming piece of wood form the fire and drives them back. Works remarkably well considering they are the immortal indestructible specters of long dead kings, capable of killing with even a slight blow and causing even squads of veteran soldiers to run in fear. It's hinted, though, that the Ringwraiths are in a weaker state during their initial attack on the Shire. Somewhat justified as they are at the point described as being stronger in the dark and that they need the cloaks to have form and to affect the world. Cloaks can burn and the fire is a bright light.
    • Also, in the modern movie adaptation, fire is the orcs' most useful weapon against the Ent attack. Which is a pretty good idea, as Ents are trees. When Isengard is flooded, you can see a burning Ent rush forward and dunk itself to douse the flames. In the books Saruman uses some kind of automatic flamethrowers against them, causing them to flood Isengard. Also in the books, the dwarves' need for firewood (for their forges) was one reason Ents didn't like dwarves very much. There is a bit in The Two Towers where a tree bends down to get some warmth from a fire, but in general, the trees don't like it.
  • In Scott Westerfeld's Midnighters trilogy, the animals are afraid of human technology, including, but not limited to, fire.
  • Terry Pratchett's Discworld:
  • In The Hobbit, fire proves effective in driving off wargs, but much less so when some goblins arrive, who simply use it against the dwarves.
  • The Zombie Survival Guide notes that fire is the only way to safely dispose of a Solanium-infected corpse. It's not that effective as a weapon, because the zombies don't feel pain and won't notice they're on fire, but all traces of the infection will be wiped out once the fire brings them down.
  • And in World War Z, the Army develops an incendiary bullet, nicknamed the "Cherry Pie", designed to burn up a Zombie's brain without causing collateral damage.
  • In The Sookie Stackhouse Mysteries, vampires are highly vulnerable to flame, to the point where matches will make some flinch.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire:
    • The undead wights are nearly indestructible except to fire. The only body part of a wight in the series not destroyed by fire remained animate until it rotted away.
    • It's stated that Mad King Aerys was a big fan of this trope.
    • And Daenerys, of course, has her three pet dragons. The very first thing she trains them to do is breathe fire at people. And she has ambitions to use said dragons, once they grow up, to conquer Westeros. Her family's motto isn't "Fire and Blood" for nothing, after all.
    • And who could forget the Battle of the Blackwater when Tyrion Lannister packs a squadron of ships with wildfire (which is basically magical Greek Fire on steroids) and sets not only both fleets but the river itself on fire.
  • As in Mythology above, the vampires in numerous works of Gothic literature—including Carmilla, Varney the Vampire, and Dracula must be destroyed with fire after they're staked and decapitated. The fact that Dracula's body is not burned when he's killed in the original novel is often cited as a reason for latter-day authors to bring him Back from the Dead. Again.
  • A subversion: in H. P. Lovecraft's The Case of Charles Dexter Ward, a repeated theme and instruction is to refrain from killing the necromancer villain with fire, as he can be resurrected from the ashes. Instead, the protagonist is instructed to dissolve the body in acid.
  • The vampires in Stephenie Meyer's Twilight can be permanently destroyed by using fire and not much else. It's worth noting that Carlisle failed to try immolation during his many attempts at killing himself after he became a vampire, despite his father being a pastor who believed in wiping out evil supernatural creatures in such a manner.
  • At the end of the Jurassic Park book, there isn't any of that "Let the dinos live in peace on the island" stuff from the movie. The Costa Rican Air Force levels the island with napalm.
  • And somehow Ian Malcolm survives the napalm attack to be in The Lost World (1995). His presence in the sequel book is Hand Waved by stating that his death in the first one was a mistake on the part of those chronicling the events, and he was only critically wounded and later recovered upon receiving proper medical care.
  • In Brian Caswell's The View From Ararat, the only known ways to destroy the inorganic super-plague threatening life on planet Deucalion are extreme heat, and an enzyme conveniently found in all native Deucalion plants and animals, half a galaxy away from where the disease first surfaced.
  • The finale of Peter F. Hamilton's Night's Dawn trilogy, The Naked God, has a straight example—the Orgathe are immune to most weapons but very vulnerable to heat.
  • A major villain in the Fingerprints series starts out as a Knife Nut. When it becomes clear that a single knife is insufficient to carry out her Roaring Rampage of Revenge, she figures fire will work better. It does.
  • The War Against the Chtorr. Flamethrowers are the best means of dealing with the Chtorran gastropedes (and various other forms of Chtorran ecology), and are preferred by the antagonist over cold-gas and flechette rifles. This is because their unique alien physiology makes the gastropedes very difficult to kill.
  • In Dan Abnett's Warhammer 40,000 novel Brothers of the Snake, when Khiron killed a fellow Space Marine, he claimed he had been possessed by a daemon and that, since he had not used fire, it had escaped. Fortunately, Priad remembers this when he figures out who it escaped to.
  • In Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book, when Shere Khan incites the Pack against Mowgli, Mowgli uses "the Red Flower" against them.
  • In Poul Anderson's Three Hearts and Three Lions, they discover the troll can be killed only with fire. (This is the source for D&D.)
  • In Graham McNeill's Warhammer 40,000 Ultramarines novel Dead Sky Black Sun, the Living Shadows in the Eye of Terror can be killed only with fire. Even that is not very effective; while the Space Marines can survive, the two Imperial Guardsmen with them are nearly killed by the heat they need, even with the Marines trying to shield them.
  • In Anne McCaffrey's Dragonriders of Pern series, fire spewed by male and green dragons (and flamethrowers wielded by queenriders and ground crews) are the primary means of fighting Threadfall.
  • Beatty in Fahrenheit 451. "If you have a problem, don't face it, burn it". Indeed. The world in Fahrenheit 451 subscribes to this ideology against books and literature.
  • Stephen King:
    • The Shining: Used to deal with the Hell Hotel, with bonus wasp's nest-destroying Flash Back.
    • Subverted in the short story The Road Virus Goes North (part of Everything's Eventual). A horror writer buys the last surviving painting of a troubled artist who burned all his other works and then committed suicide. When he realises the painting is cursed he tries to get rid of it, but the painting keeps returning intact. Eventually, he burns the picture, because that's what works in the books, right? Unfortunately, it turns out that the artist didn't burn all his paintings except this one, he burned all his paintings including this one.
    • Henry does this by burning down the cabin in Dreamcatcher.
  • Subverted in John W. Campbell's "Who Goes There?" where the scientists in Antarctica use high voltage electricity to kill telepathic, body-morphing aliens. This makes a lot more sense than the flamethrowers used in the movie (John Carpenter's The Thing (1982)) because it takes a while to kill something with fire. Electricity can zap every cell in an organism instantly—hard to adapt to, eh? For another good reason to use electrons, see the end of the movie, where the entire base is charred rubble and the survivors are shelterless in ANTARCTICA.
    • Played straight in the conclusion of the original story—the final alien is destroyed with an oversized blowtorch after a human fires bullets through all three of its eyes, which causes it to become immobilised. Also, the electrocution weapon required mains power from the base's generators, and the final confrontation is too far away to run a lead.
  • Karen Miller's Godspeaker Trilogy where Marlon is immolated by Dexterity's glowing touch.
  • In P.C. Hodgell's Chronicles of the Kencyrath, fire is the best way to kill the shapeshifting, vampiric Changers, which are hard to kill but whose blood is very flammable. It's also the best way to kill the zombielike Haunts.
  • In the Night World series, fire is the only thing that can kill any creature, be it witch, human, werewolf, shapeshifter, or vampire. One character does freak out when another speaks nonchalantly about burning a werewolf to death (including the phrase "one of the traditional methods"), so it appears to be a less-used tactic... now.
  • A tanker truck, a fire truck, and an intentionally damaged bridge that the Posleen have to cross provides much fun for the humans defending Fredricksburg, at one point in Gust Front.
  • Sun Tzu devotes a chapter of The Art of War to the use of fire against an enemy.
  • When Harry Dresden of The Dresden Files yells "Fuego!", you take cover and pray for mercy. When he yells "Pyrofuego", you run for your damn life. He's only had to cast the latter spell twice in the entire series, and both times, those on the receiving end... let's just say they had their whole day ruined. Memetic Mutation has turned him into the Anthropomorphic Personification of this Trope.
    • Don't forget, one of those times he was so furious that he said "Pyrofuego! BURN!" Meaning he may have cast the spell in English. Something that is pointed out many, many times to be terrifyingly dangerous, as saying spells in another language, one you don't understand, provides some psychic insulation.
    • His very first duel involved an Eldritch Abomination, a gas station, and fire. Harry won. (Note, though, that Harry eventually discovers the Eldritch Abomination threw the fight, and it could've ripped him apart easily.)
    • He's also a fan of a shotgun loaded with fireball or dragon's breath rounds, as is Kincaid.
    • Harry also once created a spear of flame 20 stories high. Not for nothing does Elaine (no slouch herself) refer to him as the most powerful wizard she's ever met.
      • A bit of clarification: In terms of raw power, Harry is in the top percentile. However, Harry himself notes that more experienced wizards, such as the Wardens or the Senior Council could twist him into knots without even trying, because in the Dresdenverse, as in real life, skill matters much more than power.
      • This one was neat because he wasn't even using it as a weapon—the fire was a heatsink for a lake. Magic is such a Game-Breaker that it's not even funny. note 
    • "How about a little fire, Scarecrow?"
    • The Holy Fire of the Swords (and occasionally their wielders) is very effective against the forces of darkness.
    Harry: Let that be a lesson to you. Hands off the Fist of God.
    • Don't forget the use of superpower hellfire and soulfire, the latter of which is (literally) hell on wheels for destroying stuff, and soulfire, which is pretty much exactly what it sounds like, and allows a wizard to be more of what they already are by supercharging their spells.
    • In-universe, Harry notes that fire really is a highly effective weapon against all sorts of nasties, as well as being used against magical enchantments. Fire can disrupt and destroy enchantments when used with that intent, and any wizard worth their salt in combat learns how to use fire first. In Turn Coat, a squadron of Wardens cuts loose on a horde of summoned spirits, and the ensuing literal firestorm is simply stunning to behold.
  • Codex Alera:
    • Although all the Elemental Powers in are useful in war, using firecrafting to make a Flaming Sword is a common tactic when High Lords are fighting because wounds that have been cauterized are extremely difficult for watercrafters to heal. Fire is also handy against the Vord, since the croach they rely on to keep them alive is very flammable.
    • The beam of sunlight (while technically a product of aircrafting) is a prime example.
    • Firecrafting can also induce powerful emotions, like passion and fear. First Lord Gaius Sextus once wields a flaming blade so powerful with this firecrafting-induced fear, men just dropped dead from their fear killing them.
    • In First Lord's Fury Tavi learns that while bonding with a fury to make it loyal to the person requires watercrafting, another person can disrupt that basic process with firecrafting, freeing the fury.
  • Master Ferus of The Cinder Spires is usually genial, and generally claimed to be silly. However, send a task force to invade his home and There Is No Kill Like Overkill.
  • Colt Regan: The only way to keep nihil from coming back for more.
  • In the conclusion to An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, Scottish philosopher David Hume says that reasoning can only lead us either to mathematical truths or knowledge about matters of fact based on experiment:
    If we take in our hand any volume; of divinity or school metaphysics, for instance; let us ask, Does it contain any abstract reasoning concerning quantity of number? No. Does it contain any experimental reasoning concerning matter of fact and existence? No. Commit it then to the flames: For it can contain nothing but sophistry and illusion.
  • As mentioned in the main description, the trolls in the Forgotten Realms world regenerate and can recover from anything...except being set on fire. The heroes in Streams of Silver take advantage of this weakness as much as they can.
  • In Andy Hoare's White Scars novel Hunt for Voldorius, the Bloodtide, begging for death, tells them to use fire.
  • The Krytos Plague in the X-Wing Series is so highly infectious that decontamination of a building consists of burning everything inside it with plasma, including burning half an inch of concrete off the walls.
  • In Robert E. Howard's Conan the Barbarian story "Black Colossus", the charging knights are destroyed with a wall of fire.
  • Rapier in The Five Greatest Warriors burns several men to death inside the Third Vertex.
  • Averted in Terry Goodkind's Stone of Tears. An Eldritch Abomination shows up and starts killing the crap out of people. A wizard sets it on fire. It screams in pain. Then it puts the fire out and starts killing people some more.
  • In the last Time Scout book, a bad guy running from the heroes tosses a burning rag onto a barrel of gunpowder in the middle of an arsenal in the middle of Victorian London's dockland. This causes some commotion.
  • In Michael Moorcock's The Sailor on the Seas of Fate there's a scene where the heroes have to destroy a pair of buildings. The captain of their ship is insistent that the buildings can only be destroyed by fire. It turns out that the buildings are a pair of evil alien sorcerers.
  • In H. G. Wells's short story "The Cone", an angry steelworker decides to kill his boss by throwing him off of an overhead catwalk onto the red-hot vent cone on top of a blast furnace. His victim starts burning immediately, and it goes From Bad to Worse when the vent opens releasing scalding gases.
  • The only reliable way to kill the undead in The Witch Watch. That and just cutting their heads off and leaving it powerless and buried underground whilst still being conscious.
  • Kantri of Tales of Kolmar have this instinct towards anything that makes them angry. They use claws and teeth too and will rend bodies long after the foes are dead, but when it's over they burn the bodies and preferably things the bodies have touched, right down to the soil. They are dragons.
  • In Septimus Heap - Physik, Queen Etheldredda's ghost and her pet animal are finished off by burning their portrait in an appropriately designed BoneFyre.
  • In The Wheel of Time series, fire is one of the three weapons effective against the Finn. Music puts them in a kind of trance, and while they can become intangible, pure iron and fire will still hurt them. The explanatory poem goes:
    Courage to strengthen
    Fire to blind
    Music to dazzle
    Iron to bind
  • The Cthulhu Mythos story Once More from the Top by A. Scott Glancy shows what happened when the marines were sent to clear out Innsmouth. They hold their own against the Fish People, only to be routed when a shoggoth comes swarming over the sea wall. Fortunately the narrator and a Sociopathic Soldier are able to throw it back with the help of a couple of flamethrowers and some phosphorus grenades (even diving into the water doesn't help the shoggoth, as phosphorus can burn underwater).
  • The Vampire Chronicles, like many other vampire stories (as noted above) have fire as one of the only ways to destroy a vampire (though particularly strong/old vampires are immune even to that). Louis de Pointe du Lac, the narrator of the first book, has a particular fascination with it, burning down two houses, a theater and his creator within his book alone.
  • A peculiar variant with the fire-spiders in The Quest of the Unaligned. Their own natural pyromancy means that fire doesn't actually hurt them, but exposure to a lot of fire affects them like Alien Catnip. This more-or-less saves the heroes' lives when one of them accidentally fills the cave they're in with an inferno and stuns the vast swarm of fire-spiders for over an hour, allowing the heroes to escape.
  • The Enemy employs this against the Zombies several times. It seems to be the most effective weapon against them; unfortunately, it's the hardest to safely employ.
  • Most Secret by Nevil Shute is about a fishing boat during World War II that is fitted out with a large flamethrower in a plan to destroy the German escort vessels keeping an eye on the French fishing fleet. This trope is specifically lampshaded.
  • Given its setting in ancient China, it's no surprise that fire is a pretty big deal in Romance of the Three Kingdoms. Its use against armies is obvious, and several mentions are made of Sun Tzu's stratagems in regards to fire. Perhaps the most dramatic example would be the Battle of the Red Cliffs. The Southern Coalition forces couldn't face the North's superior numbers head-on and thus had to resort to alternative methods to overcome Cao Cao's forces. The massive Northern naval fleet is tricked into chaining itself together to prevent seasickness, then set aflame by a surprise attack by Coalition fire boats. What the armies of the South could not do, a single decisive strike with fire accomplishes overnight—Cao Cao's fleet is effectively wiped out by the runaway fires jumping from ship to ship due to the chains holding them all together.
  • Andre Norton invokes this trope in many of her science-fiction novels when referring to destroyed planets as having been "burned off".
  • The Cinder Spires has Master Ferus. Some men decide to attack him in his home. The resulting scene is mostly from the POV of Folly, his apprentice, so we don't know what happened, exactly, but even she can tell they're cooked... without looking.
  • In the Boojumverse story "Mongoose", Izrael Irizarry specializes in clearing space stations of infestation by extradimensional scavengers called Toves. He notes that they are capable of surviving in vacuum, and recommends exterminating them with fire.
  • Kane:
    • The story "Lynortis Reprise" takes place on an old battlefield marked by a two-year long siege. The alchemical phosphorous bombs shot by the defenders of the city were particularly devastating and at one point the effect of two salvaged duds used against advancing enemies is described in gruesome detail.
    • In another story, "Cold Light", Kane locks himself in an old warehouse with two of his enemies. The warehouse was used to store fabrics and quite a lot of them still remain. He proceeds then to set the building on fire. He escapes through a hidden tunnel, the other two are killed.
  • In The Silent War the Redcloaks have, among other things, the ability to channel supernatural fire into melee weapons. It cuts through demons and the walking dead like they're made of paper.
  • Knowledge Of Angels: At the close of the book, Palinor is burned at the stake by the Inquisition for heresy.
  • The burning of heretics comes up a few times in Wolf Hall. A few of Thomas Cromwell's Lutheran associates are burned by Thomas More for making public displays of heresy (namely reading aloud from Tyndale's English translation of the Bible). Cromwell also recalls an incident from his childhood when he watched an old woman burned as a Loller and is horrified by the painful death and the crowd's jubilation. He lingers after the crowd disperses until the old woman's friends arrive to gather her remains and one of them marks his palm with the greasy ash.
  • In The White Rabbit Chronicles, this is the only way to end zombies for good. In the spirit realm, a slayer can summon white fire in his or her hands which is used to "ash" the zombies.
  • Dahlia Sin'Felle uses the lightning properties of her weapon in Companions Codex to set fire to a female drider that was cornering her and Effron during an ambush in Port Llast. This incident comes back to haunt them, when it turns out that said drider was the lover of Yerinninae, the Xorlarrin's strongest drider, who is now bent on revenge.
  • In The Old Kingdom, fire is good for killing off most of the Dead, and purifying cremation is a good way to keep more Dead from rising.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In The Almighty Johnsons, destroying things and people with fire is one of Loki's favored tactics.
  • American Horror Story:
    • In Murder House Tate attempts to murder Larry by setting him on fire.
    • The witches from Coven sentence traitors to death by fire.
    • Pyrokinesis is also one of the seven major powers that a witch or warlock can have (collectively known as The Seven Wonders) or as a spell in its own right (known as Ignis).
  • Buffyverse:
    • One of the ways to kill vampires.
    • Then there was the time Angel became the Big Bad, killed Jenny, then set up the body to get off on how the heroes would react to her murder. That was too much for a distraught Giles, and the former Ripper loaded up with a bowgun, fuel bombs and a freaking flaming baseball bat.
    • In Season 8, Renee lures a vampire before Buffy attacks it, then flicks a lighter and gives a Psychotic Smirk as Willow douses him in petroleum. After Buffy interrogates him he pleads for his life, saying he answered her questions, she has to let him go.
      Buffy: I never promised that.
    • In Season 9, Angel and Faith fight demons who can regenerate, so they use a flamethrower to burn their whole bodies into ash.
    • On one episode, Wes and Fred went after a demon nest with blowtorches, setting the whole thing ablaze.
    • Sometimes however vampires can put themselves out before being incinerated.
    • Averted when Wesley burns Lilah Morgan's employee contract which binds her to Wolfram & Hart for eternity. A duplicate contract immediately appears in the drawer.
      Lilah: Flames wouldn't be eternal if they actually consumed anything.
    • How Spike disposes of The Anointed One in "School Hard".
  • Doctor Who:
    • There was at least one classic episode that showed the Daleks' ability to shoot fire from their plungers.
    • At the end of "Planet of Fire", the Doctor tries this on the Master. He gets better. As usual.
    • In "Time Heist", the bank has rows of flamethrowers to incinerate any potential thieves that fail the security checks.
    • "The Ghost Monument": The Doctor and company destroy a horde of killer ribbon-creatures by igniting a pocket of acetylene gas in the atmosphere of the Death World they're on with a self-lighting cigar.
    • "Resolution": The Dalek recon scout is defeated in this fashion three times.
      • First, it's eventually revealed that the 9th century armies were able to beat it the first time by tying it down and roasting it alive inside its armour.
      • The Doctor and her friends somewhat replicate this by destroying its Improvised Armour with repurposed microwave parts, although the creature inside escapes.
      • Finally, the Doctor straight-up hurls it into a supernova to be rid of it.
  • Not necessarily fire, but Sebaceans on Farscape go into horrendous unrecoverable comas if their body temperature gets too high (and at levels that would be on the high end of tolerable for most other races, too), making deserts, low fevers, and oversized bonfires potentially deadly. Given just how badass Aeryn is when not suffering heat delirium, it might count.
    • Scarrans, who have the power to project their body heat into deadly beams, love using this against their enemies — especially Sebaceans.
    • Ditto the fire-breathing Sheeyangs.
  • Game of Thrones:
    • The Mad King apparently loved this trope. It was his favourite way to get rid of his enemies. His enemies including women and babies that the voices in his head told him to destroy. His last words were even 'burn them all,' which he repeated for hours.
    • The Wildlings are shown to immediately burn any dead body to prevent them from becoming thralls of the White Walkers.
    • Also used to devastating effect against Stannis Baratheon's forces during the Battle of Blackwater Bay.
    • The Mad King's daughter Daenerys Targaryen's solution to pretty much every problem, though averted with her even-more-brutal execution of Doreah and Daxos. She uses fire to kill Mirri Maz Duur, Pyat Pree, and Kraznys mo Nakloz and many other slavers of Astapor. She also does this to every single Khal of the Dothraki in season 6. No one's mourning them. Her dragons have been known to do this, too, because, well, they're dragons. Once her dragons are large enough to fight, she can do this whenever she wants, though dragons aren't a prerequisite for this, as the khals found out. And in Season 8, she does this to pretty much the entire city of King's Landing.
    • In the Season 6 finale, Cersei sets off one of the Mad King's Wildfire caches beneath the Sept of Baelor, destroying it and killing most of her political enemies (the Sparrows, the Tyrells, and most of the Small Council) in one fell swoop.
    • This seems to be the only way to get rid of the wights.
    • Joffrey also speaks of Aerion "Brighflame" Targaryen who died from drinking wildfire.
    • The Night's Watch uses flaming barrels of oil to kill several wildlings and drive off the mammoth at their gate in "The Watchers on the Wall."
    • Stannis Baratheon has those of his subjects (even his brother-in-law) who won't convert to the Lord of Light burned at the stake. This appears to be the preferred method of execution for the Lord's enemies, according to Tyrion Lannister at least. Later, Mance Rayder is also burned at the stake when he refuses to accept Stannis's authority, though Jon Mercy Kills Mance while he is burning to put him out of his misery. Finally, Stannis sacrifices his own daughter this way to the Lord of Light on the advice of his Red Priestess Melisandre so the snows will clear and he can attack Winterfell.
    • Benjen Stark knows this is the best way to kill wights and comes prepared.
  • In the series Legend of the Seeker (as well as its book counterpart), the only way to permanently kill a baneling is to burn the body so it cannot be revived. A method the resident wizard Zedd uses proficiently.
  • On Lost, Kate burned her drunk & abusive father (and his whole house) to the ground.
    • In the season five finale, the Man in Black kicks a dying Jacob into a firepit to finish him off.
    • And then there's The Others in 1954 who use a storm of flaming arrows to kill off a large number of 815 survivors.
  • The Magicians: Shade-less Julia solves the problem of a recalcitrant sapient forest by burning it down.
  • In The Secret Circle, Luke, the witchhunter; also the demon snakes.
  • An episode of Stargate Universe has the crew using flamethrowers to hold back a very aggressive alien parasite that seems to creep along the ground like a fungus. How flamethrowers got aboard Destiny is anyone's guess. Greer states that he made them in his spare time, thinking they might come in useful.
  • In one episode of Star Trek: Enterprise, an alien race is seen using flamethrowers on people who have been infected by a disease that effectively turns them into another alien species.
  • Supernatural:
    • "Salt and burn the body" is the standard solution to malevolent spirits and such. If the body's already been cremated, the boys need to find an alternate solution. Sometimes this means finding the little bit of the body that wasn't burned and setting fire to it.
    • Also, in the episode "Metamorphosis", this is the only way to kill of a Rugaru.
    • And a Wendigo. And Mary Winchester and Jess.
    • In "Hookman" the brothers have to destroy the things made from the silver from the original hook.
    • In "Provenance", they have to destroy a Victorian doll made with the locks of the evil child's hair.
    • After the events of "ScoobyNatural", Daphne starts taking up this view on dealing with ghosts. The Winchesters manage to bring the gang back to relative normalcy before she starts implementing it.
  • In Torchwood: Miracle Day Category Ones, people who are so injured or sick they should be dead are burned. Not that that actually works.
  • In The Vampire Diaries, Stefan killed Ben with a freaking flamethrower! Also how they disposed of the incapacitated tomb vampires. Bonnie threatens Damon with this - and nearly goes through with it. Damon tries this with Elijah but fails.
    • Luka.
  • In The Walking Dead, a flashback shows the army dropping napalm on Atlanta in a (futile) attempt to contain the outbreak.
  • Episode three of Wolf Hall depicts the trials and execution of James Bainham, an associate of Cromwell's. He refuses Cromwell's offer to pull strings for his release since his beliefs would compel him to keep reading Tyndale's Bible, but he's shown in his cell putting his hand in a candle in terrified anticipation. The episode ends with him being burnt at the stake with Cromwell watching the jubilant crowd in disgust. (Later, when More is imprisoned, Cromwell accuses him of torturing Bainham so badly that he had to be carried to the scaffold.)

  • Ice Cube's "We Had to Tear This Motherfucker Up" is about the L.A. riots. Including the rash of arsons. It's from the point of view of a rioter.
  • Amon Amarth has numerous songs about the fires and fire god of Ragnarok. "Gods of War Arise" describes Vikings burning down a sleeping village.
  • P!nk has a single - Funhouse - that seems to relate the story of killing Monster Clowns with fire. A perfectly reasonable response, wouldn't you say?
    This used to be a funhouse,
    But now it's full of evil clowns.
    It's time to start the countdown
    I'm gonna burn it down, down, down
    I'm gonna burn it down.
  • The Prodigy seem to like this trope a lot. Songs include "Fire", "Firestarter", "Fuel My Fire", "Spitfire", "The Heat the Energy" and "World's on Fire". In the same let's-burn-the-world vein you could probably also include songs like "Molotov Bitch" and "Hotride".
  • In Rammstein's "Rosenrot" video, Till's character is burned at the stake.
    • And in a later video, Haifisch, when Schneider daydreams about killing Till, this is his method of choice.
  • Erase This by Evanescence
    "Burn it till there's nothing left"
  • Perish In Fire by Monster Magnet
  • "The roof. The roof. The roof is on fire. We don't need no water, let the motherfucker burn. Burn, motherfucker, burn."
  • Swedish industrial metal band Raubtier: "Låt napalmen regna ner!" (Let the napalm rain down!)
  • Usher's song, "Let it Burn".
  • Swedish heavy metal band Sister Sin's Food For Worms advocates killing everyone you dislike with fire "because fire's fucking cheap."
  • Sodom, a German thrash metal band, has in its album M-16 -an album about the Vietcong- a song named Napalm in the Morning that begins with that Apocalypse Now's famous quote by Col. Kilgore.
  • Arthur Brown (1968) liked to play with fire on stage too: "I am the God of Hell fire and I bring you..." (No, not the pizza. Guess again.)
  • "Burn MF" by Five Finger Death Punch basically invokes this, with gratuitous usage of Cluster F-Bombs and a couple of Atomic F Bombs for good measure.


  • In one episode of The Magnus Archives, such is Timothy Hodge's horror at the infestation that suddenly appears in his bedroom that he immediately sets the place on fire.
  • In The Fallen Gods, the dust golems that the party is attacked by are highly susceptible to fire, allowing them to be destroyed easily once they light some things on fire. Except for the one that Tuatha cleaned, leaving it just a swirling core of magic.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • After costing The Undertaker the WWE Championship against Shawn Michaels in a Casket Match, Kane and Paul Bearer locked him in the casket and dragged it out front of everyone. Kane used an ax to chop holes in the casket. Then he doused it with gasoline and set it on fire with a book of matches provided by Bearer.
  • Randy Orton and his dad Bob Orton tried to do the same thing to the Undertaker after defeating him in a handicap Casket Match 7 years later.
  • After Hulk Hogan defeated Ultimate Warrior with the help of his nephew Horace Hogan in their infamous match, Horace attempted to do that to Warrior by dousing him with lighter fluid.

  • Bleak Expectations: Pip Bin manages to accidentally burn down parliament, thanks to all the MPs and the Speaker for the House of Commons drinking day-in, day-out, meaning the entire building is soaked in alcohol. Not a good mix with fire.

    Religion and Mythology 
  • The Bible is typically fond of this.
    • After discovering that the citizens of Sodom and Gomorrah were willing to rape angels, God told Lot, the Only Sane Man, to leave the city. After Lot did what he was told, taking his family to escape, God did exactly what this trope says — a rain of hellfire and brimstone reduced both cities to ashes.
    • He did something different in Egypt, where He used burning hail — in other words, ice that is on fire.
    • Aaron's sons Nadab and Abihu burn incense in a censer when God hadn't told them to. "So fire went out from the Lord and devoured them, and they died before the Lord."
    • This seemed to be Elijah's M.O. Just ask those soldiers.
    • Nebuchadnezzar's preferred method of execution in the book of Daniel.
    • There is Hell if you want your gratuitous fire usage. Our modern conception of Fire and Brimstone Hell was actually based on Gehenna, which was a real-life trash incinerator near Jerusalem where everyone disposed of both their waste and the bodies of the worst criminals in the city so they cannot resurrect. In Biblical Text, the Lake of Fire repeatedly mentioned referred to this specific location initially ("eternal damnation" in Jesus' time specifically meant Cessation of Existence by fire as you cannot resurrect because eternal life was exclusively for the righteous) until due to Word of Catholicism it was later fused with the Greek concept of Hades as a Fate Worse than Death.
    • In Judges 18 the Danites while looking for land massacred the people of Laish and "...burned the city with fire."
    • Under Mosaic law, fire was the standard, final "treatment" for garments or buildings that had been infected with disease/mold/etc. First, you were supposed to try water. If that worked, great. If it didn't, burn it.
  • Heracles used fire to cauterize the Hydra's stumps before it could grow new heads. Or to be precise: Heracles smashed the heads with his club, his nephew Iolaos cauterized them. This technically didn't KILL the Hydra, since one of its heads was immortal. He just buried it under a rock afterward.
  • Many of the admittedly extremely varied world folklore about vampires feature either an aversion to fire, or immolating the vampire's remains as the final step in destroying it for good.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • Used for trolls (although acid works just as well). Based on the Hercules example, it's necessary to cauterize the hydra's stumps so new heads don't grow. (Save for fire-breathing hydras. They need ice.)
    • Two of the titular dragon breeds, the Gold and Red, both have fire as their breath weapons.note . Most editions also have them as the most powerful of their specific categories of dragons...
    • Fire is also extremely useful against most undead, who are often immune to a wide variety of attack modes.
    • In general, when wizards start to cast Fireball is the point where they begin to outshine the fighters in combat, and most of the high level, high damage spells tend to be fire.
    • Apocalypse from the Sky is a ninth-level spell from the Book of Vile Darkness. It isn't too damaging for a ninth-level spell (10d6 to all in the radius, which is available seven levels previously), but it has a radius of ten miles per caster level. The weakest person who can cast this spell would be destroying small countries and almost everything in them, and all of it would be through FIRE.
    • The psionic version: the Pyrokineticist. Always chaotic, rarely good, invariably fire-heavy. They are so fire-happy that a prestige class prerequisite is "must have set fire to a structure of any size simply to watch it burn".
    • Searing Spell is a feat you can apply to Fire spells to make them ignore Fire resistance, and partially BYPASS FIRE IMMUNITY! It burns so hot it can burn things that can't be burned!
    • 4th edition gives us the Irresistible Flame feat. An epic-tier infernal warlock or pyromancer can simply burn straight through fire resistance. Not as useful as the previous edition's Searing Spell, but still fun.
    • And Dragon Magazine for the same edition gives us Burn Everything, which does the same thing from heroic tier. Less powerful than Irresistible Flame, but available to any arcanist from the first level on.
    • Early editions of the game had flasks of oil that could be set alight and hurled at monsters, like weak Molotov Cocktails. Now there are flasks of Alchemist's Fire with more or less the same effect. They burst into flame on impact.
  • Fire deals aggravated damage (much harder to heal) to pretty much every creature in the Old World of Darkness (the primary exception is demons). In the new one, fire just deals lethal damage (painful, but not "OW MY VERY BEING IS RENDED" like with aggravated) to mortals and those not vulnerable to it. Vampires, Prometheans, and mummies receive aggravated damage from it, however (Vampires and mummies because they're desiccated corpses held together and made lively by magic, and Prometheans because the "Divine Fire" that gives them life overloads when exposed to fire).
    • In the Old World of Darkness, the vampires of the Setite clan were especially weak to fire, taking double damage from it (still aggravated). In the new one, their Spiritual Successor, the Mekhet clan, has inherited the weakness.
    • The Vampire: The Masquerade / Mage: The Ascension crossover supplement "Time of Thin Blood" saw the Technocracy respond to the rising of the Ravnos antediluvian in Bangladesh by declaring Code Ragnarok... and then beating the shit out of the ancient vampire by setting him on fire with orbital mirrors after nuking him from orbit with nukes enhanced by Awakened Science. Up to that point, everything else that various supernatural groups (i.e. Garou werewolves, Asian vampires) had thrown at Ravnos had been ineffective. So, yes, on that day, the much-maligned Technocracy saved the world. Take That!, mages.
    • A vampire can heal lethal damage (swords, etc) at the rate of one Vitae per point. This isn't bad: most vampires can just abduct some random passer-by, drain him dry, and be peachy. It takes three days and only slightly less blood than the average person contains to heal a single point of aggravated damage.
    • In the Hunter: The Vigil, Task Force: VALKYRIE has a flamethrower available to them specifically made for taking out vampires.
  • Exalted has the flame piece and firewand, and their First Age brethren liked the plasma tongue repeater. The Righteous Devil and Golden Exhalation martial arts styles let you do things like triple these weapons' (usually limited) range or do bonus damage. Fear the Exalt who masters both of these styles and is able to use a Charm to produce ammunition - especially since the martial arts skills required to reach the higher levels of those charm trees mean that they can still kick your arse if you disarm them.
    • What, no mention of Fire Aspects? They're an entire caste of Exalts themed around burning their enemies to death!
  • Warhammer 40,000's Imperium of Man's state church has a ...Church Militant's more militant arms serving as their own armed forces, the Sisters of Battle, who specialize in this in-game. These ladies have a significant percentage of their troops being armoured women carrying huge flamethrowers, and sometimes. Sisters of Battle Seraphim can even dual-wield flame throwers.
    • The other races can be prone to this—almost every race has some sort of flamethrower equivalent; while most are used as specialist weapons, certain notable units wear this hat proudly. Orks are sometimes prone to pyromania, and these "Burnaboyz" combine a flamethrower and an armour-cutting blowtorch in one device. They generally tend to be constantly working on deconstruction, lest they get bored and make other Boyz "do the burny dance."
    • See also the Cult of the Red Redemption, in Necromunda. While the Sisters of Battle manage a healthy 0.2-0.8:1 flamethrower-to-soldier ratio in their various squads, virtually all Redemptionists carry a flamethrower, flamethrower pistol, underslung single-shot flamethrower on their rifle, or all of the above. Even their giant chainswords have a flamer built onto them.
    • The Imperium's military as a whole gives us flamethrower pistols, full-sized flamethrowers, vehicle-mounted flamethrowers, even Humongous Mecha-sized flamethrowers, plasma guns, and the meltagun, which is an anti-tank microwave.
    • Prior to their 5th Edition Update, the Grey Knights' Incinerator weapon was the idea of this trope taken up to 11; its blessed flames were so hot that even immaterial forcefields were useless against it. Since Flamer template weapons automatically ignored all cover saves as well, this means that the only thing safe from the Incinerator was extremely tough armor. Good thing it only had an AP value of 4, otherwise even Space Marines would be crying in face of it.
    • Not to be outdone, the Eldar don't just bring flamethrowers - they bring a weapon that literally creates a wave of flame-like stuff that is actually torn space leading into hell. It rips through even the strongest armor, as Hellfire should, and can even carry those it wounds into hell, never to be seen again. Not so much "Kill it with fire" as "replace the space where it's standing with solar-core-hot fire".
    • Daemons and their servants are often capable of using Warpfire, which is evil fire drawn from the warp. It's chiefly the domain of Tzeentch (whose daemons are little more than living flamethrowers) and Khorne (whose daemons often brandish weapons wreathed in warpfire). Oddly enough, since they are Chaos, their warpflames might also have the effect of freezing enemies instead (so hot they wrap around and go into negative temperatures) or do something else altogether. The effects are generally spectacular, though.
    • However perhaps the supreme masters of this trope in the setting are the Marines of the Salamanders legion, almost their entire ranged weapons arsenal is made up of flame throwers and meltaguns, even their tanks.
  • Also prevalent in Warhammer. Games Workshop, in general, seems to like this trope.
    • Confronted by Treemen? Fireball. Being attacked by mummies? Burning Gaze. Taking on anything else? Conflagration of Doom. There's one lore of magic that is based entirely around killing it with fire, plus the various versions of the Lore of Tzeentch (which MUTATES it with fire).
    • There's a category for Breath weapons, and a special rule for Flaming Attacks. They are often combined. Case in point, dragons, and the Salamanders of Lustria, who are living dinosaur flamethrowers.
    • And then there's the Dwarf and Skaven entries... the Dwarf Flame Cannon and the Skaven Warpfire Thrower. Skaven being Skaven, it's rare for the Warpfire Thrower to be used consistently on the enemy.
    • This is also useful to deal with Skaven Hell Pit Abominations, since killing them with fire inhibits regeneration and prevents them from rolling on the aptly named "Too Horrible to Die" table. Said table can involve them spitting out rat swarms, or standing back up with damage restored and a temper.
  • Among the many religious or mystical denominations in Fading Suns, the Templar Avesti are the most prone to a Kill It With Fire approach. Their church's symbol is a holy flame. Avestite inquisitors and zealot monks wear fire-retardant robes with breathing masks and carry flame throwers when they do battle with mutated monstrosities.
  • The devout menites of the Protectorate of Menoth from Warmachine LOVE to kill things with fire. Many of their warjacks, warcasters, and other warriors have fire-based attacks and abilities.
    • It extends into the RPG, as well, where "death by burning" is considered an acceptable punishment for no less than eleven crimes, including burglary, smuggling, tax evasion and improper speech.
  • In Ars Magica this trope sums up Flambeau's magical philosophy (at least prior to 5th edition).
  • In GURPS: Magic you can create "Essential Flame" which will actually burn water elementals. A pyromaniac mage actually has a lot of fun options, besides the ever-popular "Explosive Fireball" there is "Burning Death" which incinerates target from the inside out even if they're magically protected from fire.
  • Surtr from Scion 's MO.
  • Crimson Skies has an aircraft in it called the Blackflag Firestorm. The plane earned that particular name when one of the first prototype fighters' guns were loaded with magnesium rounds and it spread so much fire across the sky that onlookers had thought the air itself had burst into flames.
  • Averted in a review of FATAL. "To say that this game should be burned is an insult to fire."
  • Call of Cthulhu adventure Terror from the Stars, insert "Field Manual of the Theron Marks Society". The Manual says that you can use an "Indian Water Pump" filled with gasoline as an improvised flamethrower. Just spray the monster with gasoline, then set it on fire.
  • BattleTech. Battle Mechs can be equipped with flamers and inferno missiles. Both of these weapons are designed to damage 'Mechs not by burning them, but rather by overheating them. However, they can quickly and gruesomely annihilate infantry teams and any of the few types of battle armor or vehicle that isn't specifically shielded against fire attacks.
  • Stormbringer. In the Stormbringer Companion supplement the Kyrenee monster has only one weakness: flame. If it is set on fire it will shred into many fragments and dissolve, returning to its own plane of existence.
  • In the board game The Awful Green Things From Outer Space, if the crew-player is lucky, they will find a weapon that does this to the Things; canisters of Rocket Fuel are especially nice, as they are area-effect weapons and can be tossed through hatches.
  • Arduin RPG, The Compleat Arduin Book 2: Resources
    • One of the few ways to permanently destroy a mummy is to chop it to pieces and burn the pieces to ashes.
    • In order to permanently destroy a zombie and set its soul free to go to its destination, it must be burned to ashes and buried in consecrated ground.
  • A Touch of Evil: Against the Scarecrow in the Advanced Game, you can discard items with the Fire keyword to gain extra Fight dice for one round during the Final Battle.
  • When, in Shadowrun, Ghostwalker scoured the city of Denver, he did it in the most literal fashion, as is fitting because he's a dragon. This works as either Dragons Are Divine (if you're a 'runner and know just why he did it) or Dragons Are Demonic (if you didn't know, don't care, or were one of those who maybe should have been scoured.)

    Theme Parks 
  • At Universal Studios:
    • Miseria is killed in The Eighth Voyage of Sindbad when the title character sets her on fire.
    • Voldemort in Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts sends a living skull-like fireball towards the guests, only for it to be destroyed at the last second by the firey breath of the dragon that the main trio ride on.
    • The finale of Shrek 4-D has Lord Farquaad's ghost being destroyed by one of Dragon's fireballs.
  • In 2011, a fire broke out at Walt Disney World's Enchanted Tiki Room: Under New Management, but for the most part only damaged an Iago animatronic beyond repair note , resulting in the much-criticized attraction being overhauled into an abridged version of the original show. Many Disney fans jokingly attributed it to divine intervention from the actual Tiki Gods.
  • The Alton Towers roller-coaster Wicker Man (not to be confused with the 1973 horror film of the same name), has the riders go through a flaming wicker man effigy thrice. Thankfully, the fire can't actually touch them.

  • Subverted in BIONICLE, in which Tahu defends himself from Nektann by using his fire powers to melt most of his enemy's armour off and incapacitate him — but making a clear point of not killing him in the process.

    Visual Novel 
  • Near the end of Adage's path of Steam Prison, Adage douses Priscilla with flammable liquid and sets her alight to destroy her past salvaging and break Glissade's delusion that she's still alive. In the ending "Sacrificing Myself," this puts a permanent end to both Priscilla and Glissade, who burns to death trying to save his creation. In the ending "Flickering, Fading," Glissade manages to douse the flames and immediately starts over via draining Cyrus of her blood.
  • Monster Prom: This is Damien Lavey's preferred method of destruction. One event has you go on a date with him which basically consists of the usual dinner and a movie, but with arson included.

    Web Animation 
  • Homestar Runner: Strong Bad's creation "Trogdor the Burninator" is a fire-breathing dragon notorious for "burninating the countryside, burninating the peasants / burninating all the peoples and their thatched roof cottages!"
  • Happy Tree Friends: Every single character in the series dies in "Class Act" as a result of the fire that burned down the school, including the ordinarily Nigh Invulnerable Splendid.
  • Frollo uses this to solve a fair deal of his problems through pyrokinetic magic on The Frollo Show.
  • Tactical Noobs presents this as being the best way to deal with homosexuals.

    Web Comics 

    Web Original 
  • Ritchie/The Arsonist take this trope to heart in Door Monster's The Guards Themselves.
  • SCP Foundation:
    • SCP breach containment procedures sometimes include flamethrowers, particularly where bullets would be ineffective.
    • SCP-165 ("The Creeping, Hungry Sands of Tule"). The Foundation's Mobile Task-Force Epsilon-9 used flame accelerator (flame thrower) units to reduce the sand SCP-165 lives into glass and thus destroy the SCP-165.
    • SCP-229 ("Wire Weed"). Because of SCP-229's nature (a mass of power lines and cables), incineration is recommended as the best way of destroying it.
    • SCP-299 ("Infectious Tree")SCP-299 ("Infectious Tree"). If any examples of SCP-299 are discovered in the wild they are to be destroyed by firebombing them into charcoal.
    • SCP-354 ("The Red Pool"). SCP-354-2 was a bear-sized creature covered with razor-sharp spines. After it came out of SCP-354 it proved to be Immune to Bullets and had to be destroyed with napalm.
    • SCP-363 ("Not Centipedes"). SCP-363 is scared of fire, and Foundation troops are issued flamethrowers to use against them. After one containment breach, the site where SCP-363 was being held was firebombed in order to destroy them.
    • SCP-378 ("Brainworm"): SCP-378 are Creepy Centipedes that are almost invulnerable to attack. The only thing that can even incapacitate them is fire. Fire is also effective in suppressing a victim/host's Healing Factor.
    • SCP-420 ("Aggressive Skin Condition"). When a person who drank SCP-420-1 reaches the sixth stage of infection they start growing rapidly and must be incinerated before something horrible occurs.
    • SCP-466 ("Mobile Veins"). If SCP-466 breaches containment it is to be suppressed using flame weaponry (e.g. flamethrowers).
    • SCP-492 ("Animated Cloth Dummy"). SCP-492 is made of cloth, so it is highly vulnerable to fire and can be easily destroyed by flame.
    • SCP-593 ("Contagious Innumeracy"). SCP-593 is a virus that causes measles-like symptoms. The containment procedures recommend incineration of all materials that anyone infected with it may have touched.
    • SCP-615 ("Stick Blob"). SCP-615 is extremely flammable. The best way to destroy it is to burn it.
    • SCP-630 ("Black Glacier"). The strange ice known as SCP-630 can stand temperatures up to 1500 °C. The best way to destroy it is to burn it with a mixture of aluminum and sodium hydroxide.
    • SCP-692 ("Revives the Colours"). When clothing is animated by exposure to SCP-692, security personnel are armed with flamethrowers so they can incinerate it if it goes out of control.
    • SCP-906 ("Scouring Hive"). SCP-906 can be destroyed by incineration, and personnel are allowed to use flamethrowers to do so.
    • SCP-967 ("Infinite Scrapyard"). When the primitive robots that exit SCP-967 break apart into their component pieces, the Foundation burns them to ashes and puts them back inside SCP-967 so their presence outside SCP-967 doesn't cause it to expand.
    • SCP-1262 ("Seed of Destruction"). SCP-1262 is immune to most types of radiation and high pressure. Heat of 180+ ºF (such as that caused by fire) is one of the few ways to destroy it. In the only known case of SCP-1262 getting loose on Earth, it was destroyed by causing an eruption and burying it in molten lava.
    • SCP-1368 ("Aegides"). SCP-1368 can only be completely destroyed by incineration: any other type of damage can be regenerated by its Healing Factor. Any Foundation personnel affected by SCP-1368 are to be burned.
    • SCP-1381 ("Cats' Cabinet"). The creatures created by the Cabinet (known as SCP-1381-01 and SCP-1381-02) are Immune to Bullets but not to flamethrowers.
    • SCP-1506 ("Aerial Arachnid"). If one of the giant floating spiderweb clouds containing SCP-1506 spiders threatens to attack humans and can't be diverted, it will be destroyed by a combination of flamethrowers and Fuel Air Explosive incendiary bombs.
    • SCP-1537 ("Akul'hil"). Because their Shapeshifting ability gives them resistance to physical damage, the only known way to kill SCP-1537-A is to immolate them.
    • SCP-1576 ("Edisonian Afterlife Communicator"). When a human being listens to SCP-1576 they become instances of SCP-1576-1: their brain dissolves and is expelled from their nostrils by sneezing. Breathing in the dissolved brain tissue has the same effect. The bodies of SCP-1576-1 instances are destroyed by incineration to prevent spread of the effect.
    • SCP-1583 ("It Only Makes Us Stronger"). The tentacle released by the opening of SCP-1583 can be destroyed by extreme heat, such as fire.
    • SCP-1361 ("Animal By-Product"). If it becomes necessary to destroy SCP-1361, Foundation personnel are to use incineration to make sure it's destroyed.
    • SCP-1936 ("Daleport"). One of the creatures infesting Daleport is a sheet of mobile skin in the shape of a fractal. It is Immune to Bullets, but a flamethrower severely chars it and renders it incapable of moving.
    • SCP-1961 ("Transformation Booth"). SCP-1961-1 and SCP-1961-2 are more resistant to trauma and hostile environments than human beings. Fire is recommended as one means for destroying them if necessary, so personnel guarding them are issued flamethrowers.
    • SCP-2009 ("Thomas Hoang"). Even tiny amounts of SCP-2009-02 spores are highly contagious. In order to ensure its destruction, SCP-2009 must be disposed of by incineration.
    • SCP-2102 ("Got Shoggoth?"). The only way to prevent SCP-2102 from expanding is to cauterize it with fire. The Foundation believes that SCP-2102 could be destroyed (if necessary) by the destruction of its soft tissues by flame.
    • SCP-2756 ("Surreal Landscaper"). Burning has been found to be the most effective way to destroy victims of infection by SCP-2756. Once each month, at least fifteen members of the Foundation containment site use flamethrowers to burn hostile SCP-2756 victims.
  • Dice Funk: Anne's suggestion for the evils plaguing the Pickman Academy.
  • Rock, Paper, Anything: Fire is used quite frequently as a counter.
  • An internet meme is the trope namer.
  • From John Dies at the End:
    Amy said, "So, you're making a flame-thrower?"
    "Amy, we gotta be prepared. We don't know what we'll find in that place, but for all we know it could be the devil himself."
    "David, what possible good is that thing gonna do?"
    "Oh, no, you didn't hear me. I said it's a flame-thrower." Girls.
  • An epic Cake Wreck.
  • Protectors of the Plot Continuum use fire as a weapon of choice, either dealing with paperwork, Sues, or general boredom.
  • The recommended approach to 'em Trolls.
  • Warren Ellis's approach to grilling: MAN COOK MEAT WITH FIRE. Not "man show fire to meat and then eat it while it still squirts and pulses." KILL IT DED WITH FIRE YUS. "Medium rare" = "good vet could get it up on its feet in an hour or two." That's not cooked with fire. That's THREATENED with fire. I do not season steak. Start seasoning steak and before you know it? You're French.
  • Uncyclopedia refers to fire as "nature's weapon attachment".
  • In Orion's Arm, this is one of the best ways to deal with nanotech attackers. The tiny robots can't shed heat effectively and will rapidly disintegrate when heated.
  • "Hello, and welcome to Atop the Fourth Wall, where bad comics burn." Interestingly enough, he's only ever burned five comics: Superman: At Earth's End, JLA: Act of God, The Dark Knight Strikes Again, One More Day, and Holy Terror. He notes in his "Mightily Murdered Power Rangers" review how this phrase has become The Artifact and tells the comic not to tempt him to change that.
  • The last line of the available chapter of the epic tale of Site Kilo-29: "Flamethrower." He said. "Fuck Yeah." (don't worry, it's finished) and he survives!
  • Referenced during CR's Let's Play of Story of the Blanks after encountering the Nightmares: "Dear Princess Celestia: Today I learned there's just some things you shouldn't be friendly with. Things that just need to burn. Sincerely yours, Apple Bloom"
  • Dr. Stuart Ashen is a reviewer of tat (read, cheap plastic knockoff junk found in discount stores) who often comes across lousy toys or disappointing blind bag collectibles. He used to Drop the Hammer on them, but ever since he somehow obtained a blowtorch, he's given this treatment to various things that displease him, including Draco Malfoy, a superdeformed snowtrooper, and Woody.
  • During Vegeta's play through of Broforce, when he gets to playing as B.A. Baracus (who is equipped with a flamethrower) Vegeta simply races through the level laughing maniacally as mooks attempt (and fail) to flee while he sets everything in sight on fire.
  • This is Zhuge Liang's go-to strategy in Farce of the Three Kingdoms.
  • In The Angry Video Game Nerd, the Nerd was so fed up with the Amiga CD 32 that he actually hauled the system outside and set it on fire with his Boring Company Not-A-Flamethrower.

    Western Animation 
  • In the Darkwing Duck episode, "Night of the Living Spud", a redneck decides to test how flammable a vampire is.
    Zeke: [strikes a match] Zack... get the diesel fuel.
  • Seems to be the only way of doing any sort of decent damage to Madam Rouge from Teen Titans. She's damn near invulnerable to any kind of physical attacks.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender: Fire Lord Ozai decides this trope is an appropriate response to a recalcitrant Earth Kingdom. Why bother with normal methods of subjugation when you can just set the continent on fire? Azula suggested it.
  • Korgoth of Barbaria: Scrotus threatens to show Korgoth a new spectrum of pain, and Korgoth responds by tearing a substantial amount of Scrotus's skin off, dousing him with strong alcohol, and lighting him on fire.
  • The Simpsons:
    • "Treehouse of Horror IX" has Maggie suddenly lose her legs and grows tentacles. They take her to Dr. Hibbert, who prescribes "fire, and lots of it". This is apparently his cure for everything.
    • In "Bart Carny", a father/son carny team takes over the Simpson house. In trying to think of a way to take back their house, Bart, Lisa, and Homer are each keen on fire as an option - one that Marge keeps vetoing.
      Bart: I say we set fire to the house, kill them that way.
      Marge: We don't want to kill them, we just want our home back!
      Lisa: Well... if we did set fire to the house..
      Marge: No fires!
      Homer: I've got it!
      Marge: No fires!
    • In "Lisa's Sax" when Marge shows Homer a picture an upset Bart drew:
      Marge: Homer, I want you to look at this drawing Bart did.
      Homer: [watching TV] Oh, it's beautiful! Oh, oh, let's put Bart's beautiful drawing up on the fridge!
      Marge: Homer, stop. Will you please look at the drawing?
      Homer: Oh, all right. What... [looks at drawing] ...aaah!! Burn it! Send it to hell!
    • In "The Frying Game", Homer has to take care of an endangered caterpillar. Lisa researches the species and discovers that it is "sexually attracted to fire". Homer concludes that God must want the species to die.
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars. Season Two Trailer. Geonosians charging? Break out the flamethrowers.
  • Gravity Falls:
    • In "Headhunters", Dipper and Mabel defeat the evil wax dummies by melting them, with Mabel throwing some of them in a fire for good measure.
    • In one segment of the episode "Bottomless Pit!", Dipper has his voice changed to sound much deeper. Soos' first response when hearing it is to beat Dipper with a broom and yell "Kill it! Kill it with fire!"
  • Inverted in the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "Equestria Games". Spike's fire presumably saved some lives near the end.
  • In the Sonic Boom episode "Two Good to be True", when alternate dimension Knuckles arrives in the normal dimension, Sticks gets startled and we get this:
    Sticks: Yaah! Kill it with fire!
    Tails: Calm down, it's just Knuckles!
    Sticks: Oh... kill Knuckles with fire!
  • In "Golden Hook", from Captain Jake and the Neverland Pirates, Captain Hook uses a golden hook that turns everything and everyone he touches to gold. Captain Jake's solution is to claim it using his magic sword, which has its own magic and is therefore immune to the effect, then toss the sucker into a volcano. Upon its destruction, the magic is reversed and everything that was turned to gold changes back, including Smee and Hook's other bumbling lackeys, Sharkey and Bones.
  • In the Phineas and Ferb episode "It's No Picnic", Baljeet and Buford argue over whether the former's vindaloo is better than the latter's bitterballen and end up mixing them together. Baljeet suggests that they could taste great together, but Buford says that they should kill the resulting combination with fire.

    Real Life 
  • Long before there was any scientific understanding of germs and other microbes, humans had learned that fire made rotting corpses and things that had been in contact with sick people and animals harmless. If cleaning infectious things with water didn't work, fire would do the job as a last resort, which makes fire the ultimate form of purification in cultures all over the world.
  • Cooking, another reason for the symbolism of fire as purification: Kill parasites with fire. Suffer not the tapeworms to live. Despite the lack of knowledge concerning parasite infestation, humans learned that cooking was an efficient way to sterilize food and render death from food poisoning less likely. This was a highly important evolutionary step in that, while our immune system is moderately badass at killing single-cellular organisms such as bacteria (if the bacteria does not overwhelm the body first), it is completely useless against multicellular parasites that can steal vital resources, or clog up the digestive system, or eat your organs or brain alive inside out! And before cooking, the alternative to the Paranoia Fuel of raw meat was an inefficient diet of indigestible plant cellulose that require a slow ruminant fermentation complex to manufacture any meaningful amount of proteins and essential fatty acids (e.g. cows and gorillas didn't need fire-creating intelligence, and instead of that, they evolved for microbe-filled appendixes to support their fat-less vegetarian lifestyle, although then can Ascend to Carnivorism anytime). Carnivory evolved as it made resource acquisition fast, and cooking made the resource acquisition from that even faster. The Prometheus parallels also exist in this evolutionary history; a popular theory proposes that it was cooking that allowed us to eat fatty foods with impunity and extract energy from food more efficiently, which provided enough fuel to develop our fat-ass energy-hungry brains which allowed us to think of more ways on how to kill others with fire....
  • In the medical field, people need to be especially careful not to spread germs. There are a variety of ways to kill them. Some involve fire or at least extreme heat, and it is very effective. Here are two examples. Metal tools can be sterilized by sticking them in an open flame. Biohazard waste gets incinerated. Indeed suffer not for the pathogens to live. And while it isn't fire, the autoclave doesn't leave behind inconvenient fire residue and can be used effectively to sterilize anything that won't melt in it, and works just fine on liquids as well as solids.
  • This is the reason armies have used flamethrowers as weapons.
    • As the late George Carlin explained it:
      "And what this indicates to me, it means that at some point, some person said to himself, "Gee, I sure would like to set those people on fire over there. But I'm just not close enough to get the job done. If only I had something that would throw the flame on them."
    • Interestingly enough, the flamethrower stopped being used around the time of The Vietnam War, at least by the United States. There were two reasons given: first and foremost, the flamethrower requires an absolutely massive tank for fuel, which slows the soldier prohibitively and told the enemies "Shoot me". Second, the flamethrower isn't really all that useful a weapon; short range and limited fuel keep it from being used at the most useful times. The reason the flamethrower was used for as long as it was (WW1/2 to Vietnam) is because it is a profoundly powerful psychological weapon. Nothing demoralizes an enemy squad as much as seeing your best friend set on fire! The wielder was actually running away with several litres of an extremely flammable liquid strapped to his back.... Unless you get a flamethrower tank, which had its share of combat during WWII. An indication of the extent to which flamethrowers terrified the opponents is the number of flamethrower operators registered as POW: none, or very nearly. Your likely fate being common knowledge, you had strong incentives to lie about your job if presented with the opportunity. One of the weapons that evolved to replace man-portable flamethrowers in Vietnam was a shoulder-launched incendiary rocket launcher that could propel fuel tanks much further than the old M2 could fling an arc of napalm.
    • Flamethrowers also were more useful during trench warfare as your targets were so generous to line up in a small space. Which made the fuel issue a bit less problematic. Also, because its rather large area of effect (for a handheld weapon) makes it ideal for taking out things like bunkers. Not very useful in more open combat, like in Vietnam, and utterly worthless in combat near civilians, like in Iraq, but in more entrenched situations it can still be quite useful.
    • Flamethrowers are also useful against bunkers and armored vehicles if you can get in close enough. Unlike bullets, the spray of burning fuel only needs to hit an opening and it will splash inside. Being on the receiving end of even a small splash of burning gasoline can ruin your whole day, and even if it never gets inside a bunker the smoke and flame make it almost impossible to see out through the affected area. The Flamethrower rose to prominence debut during the 1916 Battle of Verdun, wielded by former reserve fireman serving with the German Fifth Army, and soon became a renowned as a great tool for overcoming tough enemy defensive positions.
    • In the Pacific front of the 2nd World War, the US-made flamethrowers evolved to use road flares as igniters to light their fuel, with a modular, revolver-style waterproof chamber for easy loading. On top of that, logistics and training evolved so that operators could check and replace certain tank seals and one of the release valves in the field, to improve maintenance and reliability. There exist claims that some bunkers would automatically surrender upon learning that their assailants had brought along a flamethrower rather than get set alight.
    • In present-day China, they are being used to combat the invading Asian Giant Hornet. In late 2015, the Chinese military used flamethrowers to flush out Islamic terrorists out of a cave network after they attacked a mining quarry in Xinjiang and stabbed 16 miners to death.
  • Of course, the great-granddaddy of all of these flamethrowers is truly ancient — or at least medieval: "Greek fire," a chemical concoction used by the Byzantine Navy that burst into flames upon contact with air and can never be extinguished by water. The secret of its formula was so well-kept that it is lost today. The Greek Fire was so useful back in the Medieval period that many historians agree it was one of the main reasons the Byzantine empire lasted for so long. Of course, such a weapon needs a delivery system, and the Byzantines delivered: at first, they threw ceramic pots of it at the opposing forces (usually using catapults), but eventually, they invented the siphōn, a simple but highly effective pump (rather like a modern hand pump for bicycle tires or balloons, or perhaps an overlarge syringe) that would spew streams of fire at enemy vessels.
  • The Raufoss Mk 211 bullet. A specialised round developed for use with .50 BMG caliber sniper rifles, it's designed to pierce through armour, explode, and then set the target on fire.
  • Fun fact: flamethrowers are entirely legal to own in most of America. And most other countries as well, as a forestry or agricultural tool.
  • For a more impersonal delivery system, there's incendiary bombs, like those used fairly heavily on Japanese cities during World War II, by the USAAF. The June 10, 1945 "Operation Meetinghouse" firebombing of Tokyo caused more deaths than the immediate effects of either of the atomic bombs dropped in that conflict.
    • The Luftwaffe firebombing of Coventry wrought so much destruction that Joseph Goebbels coined the term Coventrated to describe the ruined city and many others like it.
    • Then the Brits used the same tactic against Germany. In the later phases of the war, a first wave of bombers would drop air burst bombs that would blast away the ceramic roof tiles used in German cities and then a second wave would drop massive amounts of incendiary bombs on the exposed wooden roof beams from where the fire would reach the wooden floors and spread to the furniture in the apartments. As in Tokyo, fires were started in specific mathematical patterns that took into account wind direction and speed, which would result in a massive updraft at the center, causing a huge fire tornado and transforming the entire city into Hell. While the fire usually didn't reach the bomb shelters, large numbers of people died from suffocation as the fire consumed the entire oxygen in the air. The incineration of Hamburg and Dresden are the closest thing Germans have to a Hiroshima-trauma.
    • Incendiary (often napalm) bombing from planes was extensively used in Vietnam and later conflicts. The US military didn't give up on this trope, they just increased the range. And then there's the bizarre tale of Operation X-ray...
    • Of the 180 largest Japanese cities that were firebombed by the 21st Bomber Command, 64 were completely destroyed.
  • Today's flamethrowers are more along the lines of missile launchers that use incendiary ammunition. And then you have the MLRS version. A typical example is the Russian RPO Shmel ("Bumblebee"). This is a tube looking like an ordinary bazooka. Inside is a single-shot rocket filled with napalm, or worse, a fuel-air warhead. A rarer variant, RPO Rys ("Lynx"), is the same, but you can carry extra rockets and reload it.
  • The IRA still used flamethrowers for the psychological effect until recently.
    • Also, the Italian Army still keeps traditional flamethrowers, officially classified as an anti-tank weapon and used by Engineer Regiments as recently as the Iraq War. Somehow, the Italian troops deployed for peace enforcement missions have managed to gain and keep a reputation as 'nice guys'...
  • Inverted by Hippocrates: "What medicines do not heal, the lance will; what the lance does not heal, fire will."
  • It is actually a common practice among those who fight forest fires to start a number of monitored brush fires while also cutting down trees. The rationale? Fastest way to get rid of fuel and helps to stop/control the spread of a forest fire by starving it. That's the way nature does it (minus the "monitored" part). In fact, certain types of cone-bearing trees need fire to open the cones. Many of the worst fires were that bad because environmental groups got their science wrong and sued to stop/prohibit thinning. Area grows into a tangle of underbrush and deadfall, lightning strikes, huge zone of flamey badness ensues. The Black Saturday bushfires in Victoria, Australia in January 2009 were partially caused by this. That, and all the arson-lit fires.
    • The backfire (starting a fire here so that the encroaching fire doesn't have fuel once it gets here) was invented on the ground. A group of fire-fighters were running from a blaze and one of them realized they couldn't escape that way. He stopped and lit a fire, urging his mates to join him. They told him he was crazy and kept running. He was the only one to survive.
  • The historical Oda Nobunaga (not the demonic, made a Deal with the Devil, comic book Super Villain one that appears in many anime) had a rather disturbing fondness for this. It began with the burning of the Mt. Hiei Buddhist temples, (and the slaughter of its thousands of residents) and culminated in the Siege of Nagashima, (another warrior monk stronghold) where he forced the defenders into their entirely wooden inner fortifications, built a wall around said fortifications, then lit the building on fire. Not a single one of 20,000 people inside escaped alive.
    • This is one of the reasons why Nobunaga was betrayed by Akechi Mitsuhide: As a high-ranking General of the Oda clan and a Buddhist, the torching of the Mt. Hiei temples did not sit well with him at all.
    • Though most adaptations like to portray that trait of Nobunaga as a reason for him being the villain, it could be argued to be merely Combat Pragmatism. Do you want to risk the lives of your soldiers in storming a building full of fanatical war monks? Or maybe you'll just advance them hiding in a mostly wooden building to its logical conclusion?
  • Sadly, this is still a common form of 'jungle justice' in many parts of sub-Saharan Africa, especially in the port city of Lagos, Nigeria. A person caught red-handed at theft or murder is soaked in kerosene or petrol, tires stacked around him/her, and set on flame for an absolutely horrifying execution.
  • What did Sun Tzu & the Vikings both have in common? The love of fire. It is great for hit-and-run attacks, as it will continue to cause damage (both physical & psychological) without requiring to stay in the place.
  • If something won't burn with regular fire, there's always Chlorine Trifluoride. This stuff is so horribly reactive that it can light ashes on fire.
    • To quote In The Pipeline "The compound is also a stronger oxidizing agent than oxygen itself, which also puts it into rare territory. That means that it can potentially go on to “burn” things that you would normally consider already burnt to hell and gone, and a practical consequence of that is that it’ll start roaring reactions with things like bricks and asbestos tile." One propulsion engineer who'd dealt with it said that the best equipment for working with this stuff was "a good pair of running shoes."
  • Contrary to popular belief, witches weren't burned in England (or the Colonies, which mostly followed English practice). In Continental Europe, witchcraft was tried as heresy, for which the penalty was burning: but the pragmatic English tried witches for whatever they were supposed to have done with their magic, from murder down to theft and destruction of property, and sentenced them accordingly as the English sentence the common man. So while many witches were hanged, there were also many cases of convicted witches simply getting a fine or just a stern warning. Also contrary to popular belief, this was also the practice in Europe at large. The Spanish Inquisition, for example, was quick to pronounce 'Witchcraft' as 'Insanity' and refused to even consider charges of it. However, many local courts in Spain brought people up on charges of various counts of witchcraft on their own volition, though burning was again only reserved for the most serious of cases. Yet another contrariety to public belief, witches weren't persecuted in Western Europe before the Reformation. The Roman Catholic Church denied the existence of witchcraft and was quick to condemn those accusing others of the practise; as humorously noted by this Scandinavia and the World comic, for much of the Middle Ages, the accuser of witchcraft was more likely to end up executed as a heretic (as belief in witchcraft was contrary to Church doctrine and therefore heresy) than the accused.
  • During much of English history, there were only two crimes punishable by burning: heresy and treason. Moreover, treason was not always punished by burning, as that crime was punished in different ways depending on the offender's status and gender. Nobles of either sex were beheaded, while commoner men were hanged, drawn and quartered (a rather gruesome form of Cruel and Unusual Death). Only commoner women convicted of treason were burned at the stake, essentially as a public-decency measure: hanging, drawing, and quartering often involved stripping the condemned of his clothes (which was considered indecent if applied to a woman) and always included emasculation (which was impossible for a woman). Treason came in two flavors: High Treason (treason against the state, including most of what we normally think of as treason, plus sundries such as counterfeiting the King's seal or NTR-ing the King's heir) and Petty Treason (murder of someone with lawful authority over you, most commonly murder of a man by his wife).
    • Ironically the burning of people for religious crimes was chosen (at least by some, particularly in the Catholic Church) because it was considered the most merciful option in the case of unrepentant individuals. The reasoning being that if you decapitated a person their soul would go straight to hell, but being burnt alive, the victim would have a chance to repent their sins before a priest (who would be standing nearby) and accept God, giving them at least a chance of salvation. Throughout history, people do seemingly brutal things for (what they see as) very good reasons.
  • During the Chilean dictatorship led by Augusto Pinochet, photographer Rodrigo Rojas Denegri and college student Carmen Gloria Quintana were set on fire by the military in the middle of the protests of 1986. Rojas died due to his injuries a few days later, Quintana barely survived but was badly disfigured.
  • This was once actually a medical practice. As late as The American Civil War it was, field hospitals regularly cauterized amputated limbs with a hot iron. And no anesthetic beyond whisky and possibly opium. Soldiers often feared hospitals more than death, quite naturally. It did significantly reduce the chance of dying from an infection, but many soldiers didn't care.
    • Around this time the syringe and first epidermal and then intravenous injections were invented, and Army surgeons immediately turned to injecting the wounded with morphine (also purified from opium nearly in the same period). It did its job relatively well as a painkiller, but the lack of understanding in aseptics and proper dosages lead to the explosion of sepsis and opiate addictions.
  • Quelea are a type of small bird native to sub-Saharan Africa. They are one of, if not the most numerous species of birds in the world. Flocks number in the thousands and are capable of completely stripping grain fields in a matter of hours. How do farmers deal with the problem? They find the trees the birds nest in, wait until nightfall, and use dynamite and gasoline. Boom!
  • Interestingly, in Egypt, people really did use mummies for kindling, since when there were thousands upon thousands of mummies, they made for a ready source of fuel. Their historical value wasn't considered at the time. Could be a small amount of Fridge Horror there.
  • A fever is essentially your body trying to do this: kill off invasive microbes by creating an environment too hot for them to survive in.
    • Some kinds of Japanese honeybees use this tactic against the Asian Giant Hornet that can't be killed through normal stinging means, due to it being fast enough to kill a bee before getting stung. The hornet can't survive said temperature, however, but the bees can, so this tactic is actually a lot more effective and costs the lives of very few bees.
  • How do Eucalyptus trees get rid of other plants that grow around them and steal the precious water in the desert ground? By emitting vapour of the highly flammable Eucalyptus oil while having very flame resistant wood and their leaves high above the ground. Once the vapour ignites, it burns all the small grasses and shrubs while only slightly singing the bark of the trees. Unfortunately, it also has the side effect of causing the trees to explode when struck by lightning.
  • Rhystysma Acerinum, known commonly as Maple Tar Spot is a fungus that looks like black spots on infected tree leaves. Because it spreads on early spring through leaves infected on the previous year, the recommended cure is to gather all infected dead leaves in the fall and burn them.
  • This is the final step in any very secure hard disk disposal method. Government secrets and such might be recovered from a drive that is wiped, repeatedly overwritten, and physically broken or drilled through. It probably won't be recovered from the completely chaotic lump of ash and metal left after going through the incinerator.
    • Also a countermeasure against tampering in highly secure safes and intelligence packages. Unless it's disabled before the package is opened, boom. Sure, you can kill the courier or crack open the safe, but anything inside (and possibly anything in the near vicinity) is going to be on fire once the pyrotechnic charge inside goes off.
  • A man from Fargo, ND simply got tired of dealing with snow.
  • In February 2015, a captured Jordanian pilot was burned alive in an iron cage by ISIS.
  • This trope is good against toxic waste (against any organic material, especially the annoying dioxine and its PCB ilk). Unfortunately, only slightly effective against heavy metals and zero against radioactive waste (the best you might achieve is turn the stuff into less soluble compounds). One can and does treat "normal" waste this way too, but that probably isn't the best method from an environmental perspective—although that can be highly situation-dependent, especially when you're dealing with the trash of a large and densely-populated urban area, where the pollution from just burning your trash somewhere in or near the city is probably less than what you would generate transporting the trash to somewhere it can be buried. New York City has been grappling with this problem for decades, as the nearby landfills in the city (in Queens and Staten Island) are closed for being beyond capacity, and the ones near the city (largely in New Jersey) are also full or close to full, leaving New York with the options of shipping its trash far away (like "there's NYC trash in landfills in Ohio and South Carolina" far away) or burning it. NIMBY issues with incinerators have kept the city from adopting that option despite its probably being a cheaper and more environmentally-friendly option than shipping the garbage to Ohio, at least.
  • The preferred way to kill some pests, such as ticks and bedbugs, which would be difficult to crush by force.
  • To prevent contamination of placesnote  thought to be likely to harbor life by bacteria that may have survived the trip from Earthnote , one of NASA's way to dispose of probes that have ended their missions is to have them being deorbited in a planet's atmosphere where they'll burn up as Galileo and Cassini can testify.
  • This was often the case with lynchings, which, contrary to popular believe weren't all hangings but often far more horrible things such as mutilation and burning alive all for the entertainment of the mob.
  • In the first few years of World War 1, German Zepplin Bombers were nigh invulnerable, as they could No-Sell basically everything the British could throw at them until the invention of incendiary bullets could set off the hydrogen in the balloon.

Alternative Title(s): Burn It With Fire


Example of: