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Certain types of creatures are especially weak to fire. This is especially common among ice-type or water-type beings, as well as anyone plant-based. This can take three forms:

  • Other weapons or attacks will do damage, but fire does more damage. These creatures can be killed by conventional (or less-than-conventional) weapons or by magic, but fire will kill them faster, which generally has the benefit of the victorious fighters being less close to death at the end of the battle.
  • Fire is the only thing that can harm a creature. This also means that fire is the only thing that can kill that creature. Woe betide the adventurers that stumble across such a creature when they don't have access to fire.
  • Fire is the only thing that can kill a creature permanently. Probably because of the devastatingly destructive nature of fire, it is often the only thing which can prevent regenerating creatures from coming back again and again. This is often part of the rationale behind Burn the Undead, and can overlap with Fire Keeps It Dead if the creature is killed and then burned.
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Sometimes the weakness will only be to magic fire or to mundane fire. For evil creatures, this weakness will generally be connected to Fire Purifies.

This is about a physical weakness to fire. For a mental weakness, see Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?.

Compare Kill It with Fire. A related trope is Elemental Rock–Paper–Scissors; generally one of the elements in such a setup will be fire, and so one of the other elements will be weak to fire. See that page for examples of cases where fire is part of a circle of elemental strengths and weaknesses.


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Examples:

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    Anime and Manga 
  • In King of Thorn, some particularly tough octopus-like monsters prove vulnerable to good old-fashioned incineration.
  • In Rumiko Takahashi's Mermaid Saga, there are three ways to kill immortals: decapitation, a very particular poison, and burning them down to ashes.
  • Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit: The Ra Runga is intangible, which makes conventional weapons useless against it. Fire is its only weakness, although one must first drink the sap from a sig salua blossom, which allows one to cross over into Nayug, in order to touch it with the fire.
  • In Parasyte, the eponymous aliens are almost completely defenseless against fire and acid.
  • The aliens in Tekkonkinkreet have fire as one of their weaknesses.
  • In Tomie, the only way to stop Tomie from regenerating is to kill her with fire.
  • Rosario + Vampire: As a yuki-onna, Mizore Shirayuki is extremely vulnerable to fire.

    Comic Books 
  • The DCU:
  • In Spider-Man this is one of the two main weaknesses of symbiotes like Venom and Carnage, alongside sonics. Fire affects the latter even worse.

    Film 
  • Played with and ultimately averted with the title monster of the Alien series. The Xenomorphs may have an aversion to fire, but are ultimately immune to its harmful effects. Even though it is painful to be hit by open flames, even the atomizing heat of starships (as demonstrated in Alien, Alien: Isolation and Alien: Covenant) at worst give Adult-Aliens a nasty singe, but leaves them ultimately unharmed. The most horrifying testament to the strength of their carapace is demonstrated in Alien 3, wherein The Dragon survives being drowned in tonnes of molten hot lead, perfectly alive, unharmed and furiously angry. Nevertheless, flamethrowers prove to be the best weapons against them in close quarters since although it won't kill them, the threat of pain from being hit by one can keep them at bay and buy your team much-needed breathing space to regroup. Furthermore, it largely avoids spilling the creature's blood, which is dangerously corrosive. Thankfully for humanity, the Alien immunity to fire is not shared by its comparatively vulnerable Egg, Facehugger and Chestburster forms.
    Ash: Most animals retreat from fire, yes?
  • 1408: This is how the room is finally destroyed.
  • 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 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.
  • In The Lord of the Rings fire is the orcs' most useful weapon against the Ent attack on Isengard. When the valley is flooded, you can see a burning Ent rush forward and dunk itself to douse the flames.
  • In Tarantula the only way to destroy the eponymous giant spider is for the Air Force to napalm it.
  • In The Thing, 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.
  • However, this was partially subverted in The Thing from Another World. Fire could kill the alien, but since it burned slowly and did not feel pain it could easily escape and douse itself, setting fire to anything it touched along the way.
  • Subverted 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.

    Folklore 
  • In traditional European folklore, fire is one of the few things that can kill a vampire.

    Literature 
  • In the Codex Alera fire is handy against the Vord, since the croach they rely on to keep them alive is very flammable.
  • Colt Regan: Fire's the only way to keep nihil from coming back for more.
  • The Monster Plant Beasties in 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. Flamethrowers are also 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.) Too bad there's a fuel shortage due to that Cosy Catastrophe...
  • In Terry Pratchett's Discworld werewolves can only be killed by silver or fire. Likewise, zombies, vampires and mummies are noted to be very flammable.
  • The Thread in the Dragonriders of Pern series is best dispatched with fire, which makes fire-breathing dragons the best defense against it.
  • 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 The Lord of the Rings, The Wizard Saruman uses some kind of flamethrowers against Ents, causing them to flood Isengard. Makes sense, as Ents are trees.
  • 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.
  • In Michael Moorcock's Elric book, 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 Poul Anderson's Three Hearts and Three Lions, they discover the troll can be killed only with fire. (This is the source for the Dungeons & Dragons trolls having the same trait.)
  • In Graham McNeill's Warhammer 40,000 Ultramarines novel Dead Sky Black Sun, the Living Shadows that haunt the city on Medrengard (Iron Warriors world 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.
  • 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 the Vorkosigan Saga, Sergyaran radials, being hydrogen-filled Living Gasbags , have a Logical Weakness to fire. In Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen, it is demonstrated that fire has the added benefit of denaturing the radials' highly corrosive bodily fluids.

    Live-Action TV 

    Mythology 
  • Older Than Feudalism: In Greek Mythology Heracles defeated the Hydra by using fire to cauterize its head stumps before it could grow new heads. Or, to be more precise, Heracles smashed the heads off with his club, and his nephew Iolaus cauterized the stumps.

    Tabletop Games 
  • From the early years of the Champions game, these super characters/creatures take more damage from fire:
    • Take increased STUN damage from fire: Aerion, Black Mamba, Charger, Cobra, Foxbat, Frost, Grond, Raccoon, Wyvern
    • Take increased STUN and BODY damage from fire: Cyborg Ant, Giant Mantis, Gratz and other vampires, The Griffin, Mechassassin, Ray, Slug
    • Frost has a Vulnerability to fire (takes STUN damage until unconscious, then takes BODY damage).
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • Trolls in most settings have a Healing Factor which makes them almost impossible to kill unless they are hurt with either fire or acid.
    • The following creatures from the 1st and 2nd Edition take more damage than normal from fire.
      • Adherer and mummy (from burning oil), witherweed (destroys), yeti (1.5 times as much).
      • 1 additional Hit Point per die of damage: creature mummy (from magical fire), dragons (blue, bronze, chromatic/Tiamat, Platinum/Bahamut, silver, white), Elemental Princes of Evil Cryonax and Olhydra, forest giant, marid, mummy (2nd Edition, from magical fire), treant, vampire tree, winter wolf.
      • Double damage: adherer (2nd Edition, if it fails a saving throw vs. magical fire), bloodworm (giant), hoar fox, ice para-elemental, ice troll, shen lung (oriental dragon), tatterderanimal raggamoffyn.
    • Based off the Hercules myth, it's necessary to cauterize a hydra's stumps so new heads don't grow. (Save for fire breathing hydras. They need to be finished off with ice.)note 
    • Dungeons & Dragons Master Set. In the DM's Book, the Immortal artifact Armet By Weyland several suggested handicaps. One of them was the wearer taking double damage from fire.
  • Judge's Guild modules:
    • Operation Ogre: Ice Toads are said to take 50% damage from fire. In Dungeons & Dragons where ice toads originally came from, this was not the case.
    • New monsters in Tegel Manor: The Grease Wrack and Gold Spore Fungus were said to be "highly susceptible to fire." The Grease Wrack's description added that this caused it to take double damage, so this was presumably true of the Gold Spore Fungus as well.
  • In Magic: The Gathering, a classic endgame strategy of mono-red exploits this: 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.
  • Similarly to D&D trolls, Warhammer Fantasy's trolls, like a few other creatures, have a Healing Factor that's negated by fire.

    Video Games 
  • In Battle for Wesnoth, fire is an excellent way of killing (most of) The Undead and Woses.
  • Fou-Lu in Breath of Fire IV is a god with an affinity to water, and has a corresponding weakness towards fire. Yohm, a general who has been tasked with destroying him, exploits this by summoning monsters with fire attacks for Fou-Lu to do battle with, arming his soldiers with burning arrows, and at one point starting a forest fire to flush Fou-Lu out of hiding.
  • In Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth, the player encounters a shoggoth at one point. At first, the player attempts to dispatch it with electricity. But this doesn't work out so well. How do you kill it? Easy. Start a gas leak, leave the room, turn the power back on (there are live wires exposed in the room the shoggoth is in), and let the horrible monster be burned to a crisp by the ensuing explosion. You even get to walk through its charred, smoking, gooey remains!
  • In Dead Space the Hunter is proven to be nigh invulnerable to all of your weapons, and is only killed when it gets hit by the engine fire from the Ishimura's executive-use shuttles.
  • Desert Moon has the Hunters, high HP enemies which burrow underground making them impervious to all weapons until they surface near your One-Hit-Point Wonder troops, by which most weapons would be ineffective before they start killing your forces. Not only does the Flamethrower beat Hunters in Tactical Rock–Paper–Scissors by dealing heavy close range damage over time, they're also the only enemies who are actively slowed/halted by it, preventing them from getting near your troops.
  • Andariel of Diablo II, despite being one of the Seven Great Evils and coming from a place called the Burning Hells, is notoriously weak to fire. Appropriately, she is the first major boss you fight in that game.
    • Andariel's Visage, a legendary helm that you can find both in that game and in Diablo III, grants you resistance to Andariel's main element, Poison, while making you take more damage from fire, as a nod to this weakness.
  • In Dragon Age: Origins, the darkspawn are weak against magical flames, along with walking corpses and sylvans. However, there are a few creatures completely immune to fire.
  • The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion has several undead (including vampires) as well as trolls and high elves with a vulnerability to fire. But as the locals will frequently tell you, "a sword works just as well".
    • In The Elder Scrolls Online, there is an undead werewolf named Faolchu. The player's attacks are all but useless against him until he has been led through flaming debris that falls from the ceiling. Notably, only the flaming debris has this effect, and not any of the player's fire attacks or enchantments.
  • Final Fantasy: Anything ice based is pretty obviously weak to fire.
  • In Gears of War 3, the flamethrower is one of the only weapons that has any effect on a Berserker.
  • Iron Marines: The Fenrir aliens native to Borealis are more badly affected by fire than other mooks thanks to living in cold conditions. Not only do their large numbers make them susceptible to the area-based fire attacks, as soon as they're set on fire they also run around haphazardly and won't attack your heroes or units. The Fenrir Alphas are undeterred by flames, however.
  • Because Kingdom Hearts II classifies water under Blizzard magic, Demyx is actually weak to Fire spells. Tired of hearing his "Dance water, dance!"? Burn him!
  • Majora's Mask: Link becomes vulnerable to fire while in his Deku Scrub form and his Zora form. If he's hit by fire while wearing either mask, he can lose as many as 4-5 hearts. Plus, the game treats it as instant death, and restarts you at your last entry point.
  • A common weakness for Mega Man (Classic) Robot Masters and Mega Man X Mavericks.
    • Mega Man is a weird example of this. One would think that the ice-elemental Ice Man would be weak to Fire Man's Fire Storm, but he isn't. The Fire Storm actually does the most damage to Bomb Man, since the flames would prematurely set off his explosives.
    • Sigma's cloaked form in Mega Man X4 can only be harmed by the fire-based weapons obtained from Magma Dragoon, since they burn his cloak. All other weapons won't harm him.
  • In the Mega Man Zero games, weapons boosted with the flame chip are extremely effective against ice opponents.
  • In Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake the only way to kill the Final Boss is to immolate him with a lighter and a can of hairspray.
  • Fire is one of the many types in the Pokémon series. It's pretty strong offensively, doing well against Grass, Bug, Ice, and most importantly the very sturdy Steel types, which otherwise are resistant to over half of the other types in the game. The most notable Pokemon that fit the criteria are Bug/Steel-type Pokemon which take 4x the damage from Fire-type moves. It's the only type that they are weak to, as they either take neutral damage or resist everything else. Paras and Parasect also have a 4x weakness to Fire due to their Bug/Grass typing, and can increase that to 5x if their ability is Dry Skin, giving them the dubious honor of being the only Pokemon with a weakness greater than 4x under normal conditions.
  • Fire weapons are the easiest and most effective way to take care of mutant outposts in Wasteland Empires on Facebook.
  • In World of Warcraft the tower of Karazhan has an encounter based upon the The Wizard of Oz. The Straw man hits fairly hard, and has a crippling weakness to fire, though not in the sense that it does additional damage. When a fire spell is cast on him, he has a high probability of simply running around in fear, unable to attack any of the raid. Many groups will have a caster dedicate themselves to spamming Fire spells on him.
  • Resident Evil 5: Uroboros B.O.W.s are extremely vulnerable to fire; the first can be instantly killed by trapping it in a furnace, and during a later boss, there's a convenient flamethrower to use against them.

    Webcomics 

    Web Original 
  • 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.

    Western Animation 
  • Seems to be the only way of doing any sort of decent damage to Madam Rouge in Teen Titans. She's damn near invulnerable to any kind of physical attacks.


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