# Naturally flame-resistant forest climate for fire elementals?

I want to make a natural forest habitat where fire elementals (and possibly dragons, or other fey), who have recently arrived on earth, can use fire abilities without "burning down the house."

Note: water vapor is not rain or other precipitation. It is water as a gas, not droplets. Rain drops can actually remove water vapor from the air as they fall. So, because rain can make the air dryer, and the story can't really have fire beings continuously steaming off in non-stop rain. That's why it is a question of creating a moist climate and not a moist ground.

In reality, Forest fires are less common at night because the vapor pressure deficit decreases, yet a vapor pressure deficit gradient is required for green leaves to transpire in the air. This is the solution which works best.

I am imagining a dell of some sort which maintains a constant low vapor pressure deficit all year round (essentially, the air is completely saturated with water vapor all year), and fire doesn't easily propagate throughout the woods. But I don't know if this would kill off the vegetation itself by restricting transpiration. Vapor pressure deficit may not be the solution, it's the only thing I know of however.

What non-magical conditions of topography and climate would a forest habitat need so that it would not propagate forest fires, and trees will also thrive, so fire-wielding fey can live safely?

Definitions:

• Saturation pressure e$$_s$$ in millibars varies by temperature according to Tetens formula.
• Vapor pressure deficit is simply the difference between the actual vapor pressure e$$_a$$ and e$$_s$$; VPD = e$$_s -$$e$$_a$$. So simply stated, the forest air can not become arid. It's more than just a question of being wet or rainy, even swamps can be arid and burn.
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– L.Dutch
Feb 23, 2022 at 17:38

I'm picturing fire attacks as being fairly ephemeral, not extensive exposure. In that case, if there's regular fire attack capability in the area, the plants would likely evolve some form of defense, they'd probably adapt naturally over evolutionary time frames.

You could take a blow torch to a cactus, aloe, or other succulent for a short time without damaging it seriously, and you'd have to dry it out completely before it became fuel. Even healthy trees won't burst into flame from momentary exposure, although they'd take more damage. Wildfires tend to start from dead organic matter, usually on the ground.

If your forest/jungle was in a low section of an escarpment, the ground might stay moist enough to keep your trees plump and the forest floor damp, suppressing most of your (secondary) fire activity.

• I don’t necessarily agree the trees would have time to evolve but this answer at least addresses topography and climate need led to get the desired outcome. Thanks. Mar 4, 2022 at 20:55

Deep Rainforest

It is hard to set fire to the trees when they are wet all the time.

Edit: In the real world there are people who burn down sections of rainforest. But they do this (1) on the edge of the rainforest where it is less wet; (2) during the dry(er) season of the year; and (3) through a long process that takes a month to complete. To prevent fires I suggest either a deeper rainforest habitat or one where it is wet year round.

• Alas I have to downvote! rainforest can be burned downm when there fire is spread by these fire creatures.. yes, it will be extremely moisty around and during rain season, like your picture shows. But in the summer, in Brazil, Guatemala and Honduras, thousands of hectares get lost to deforestation... and the method is: put it on fire. rainforest-alliance.org/insights/why-our-forests-are-burning Feb 21, 2022 at 23:36
• @Goodies The article describes artificial it as taking a month to burn down a section of forest. That suggests it cannot be set on fire easily. Feb 22, 2022 at 11:42
• @Goodies See edits. Feb 22, 2022 at 11:54
• you can't control (1) and (2) these are animals could be living anywhere in the forest all year. When a dragon has its mating ritual, it will direct its fire (10-30m) straight up, people can't even do that. Your suggestion and advice would limit behaviour (and story), in the opening there isn't any indication the animals would take preventive measures. Feb 22, 2022 at 16:24
• @Goodies Okay I will upvote Nyctophobia457's answer too. Feb 22, 2022 at 18:52

Have Trees That Need Fire to Reproduce

Example: the Lodgepole Pine

https://herebydesign.net/up-in-smoke-why-lodgepole-pines-love-a-good-forest-fire/

Rather than simply making your forest fireproof, I think you should have lots of trees that are similar to this type of pine.

These trees are fascinating because they have a resin on their cones that only melts due to the extreme temperatures created by a wildfire. Fire is an important part of their natural cycle because it helps them produce more seeds.

This is the idea in a nutshell. Design a forest of trees in which intense temperatures are necessary for the trees to propagate. Without fire, they cannot spread their seeds. The old trees NEED to be burnt down for new ones to take their place.

Much like the myth of the Phoenix, the natural cycle of this forest is one of death and rebirth. Whenever an old tree is burned down, the fire heats up special pods which then carry the fireproof seeds throughout the forest for more trees to take the place of the old. Then the cycle repeats over and over again.

I would dub this place the Phoenix Forest, going through a constant cycle of destruction and revival with every wildfire to ensure that old and dying trees are always replaced with new and healthy ones. Fire is a cleanser, in this case, removing blighted or old trees. Rather than a destroyer as it is normally portrayed.

• This could also be represented by a kind of yearly cycle of fire seasons, represented by dragons or fire elementals mating season for example. The fire creatures would have to be very active at one point in the year and rather calm the rest of the year. Feb 22, 2022 at 15:06
• These sorts of forests are evolved to get long-term benefit from periodic fires — each individual tree would only expect to see a fire on the order of once every few decades or so, as I understand. Dealing with constant/frequent fires would look rather different. Feb 22, 2022 at 16:57
• I understand that lodgepoles benefit from fires, since the fire kills the other trees and the lodgepoles recover faster. But if all the trees were all lodgepoles it seems fire provides no benefit. Feb 22, 2022 at 18:53
• The reason we have uncontrolled wild fires is because we keep putting them out. All forests are supposed to have burn events every 10~200 years, otherwise when it does it's catastrophic. It's called a destroyer because it burns down people's houses that don't belong in a forest. If we had lifespans longer than 100y we would see that it's actually the giver of life. Burns benefit the soil; everything benefits from fertile soil. Feb 23, 2022 at 12:32
• Forests Need Fire to 'Reproduce' Feb 23, 2022 at 12:32

Redwood forests are hard to burn

source

https://sempervirens.org/news/redwoods-and-wildfires/

Tannin – Coast redwoods contain a significant amount of the chemical tannin in their bark and in their heartwood. Tannin does not burn easily–a natural flame retardant... Redwoods also have little resin or pitch, which are highly flammable, and lead other types of trees like tanoaks, firs, and pines to burn much quicker.

Bark – The bark of mature redwood trees can grow at least a foot thick, creating a great protective shield from fires. This helps prevent fire from getting to the more easily burned sapwood behind the bark. This bark has high water content, which also helps prevent it from burning easily.

Height – Redwoods are the tallest trees in the world. Being so tall helps prevent most wildfires from spreading up into the tops of the trees, where their needles soak in sunlight and moisture to keep the tree alive.

Plus redwood forests are awesome.
—- OP wants more! These forests would be hard to burn because everything done been burnt! Frequent fires means the ground is devoid of flammable - much like the linked image. Small plants, leaf litter, animal fur and anything else is long gone. Fireproof great trunks straight up and bare earth is what characterizes this forest. No atmospheric jiggery-pokery required. The weather is warm and dry and the air smells great.

Eventually of course some new trees must sprout. These are redwoods, so very eventually. They are hoping to wait out the elementals.

• It's true they are harder to burn but every year they seem to burn in Northern California. Also, the answer is almost simply a link? Can we make a climate adjustment that reduces the chance of propagation? Feb 21, 2022 at 23:12
• Absolutely beautiful :o :o Feb 21, 2022 at 23:52

# Change the trees, not the climate:

You can have a non-magical world in which your fey can spark away like maniacs, but don't cause major fires. Just make the plant life different.

Rather than stems made of flammable cellulose, your soils are rich in minerals (like calcium carbonate). The "trees" have evolved to take up mineral-rich waters and wick them up the trees where they are deposited as mineral growths. So the trees are made, essentially, of rock.

• Alternatively, have you considered having your fey practice magic seasonally? In the winter, abundant snow cover can prevent fires from breaking out.
• As a variant of mineralized trees, would a PETRIFIED forest count? There are trees of a sort, but they aren't alive, and are now converted to stone.

# Cactus forest:

Alternatively, have you considered your fey moving to a desert? Yes, you can still have trees, and burn them, but fire is less likely to spread far when the distance between trees is significantly higher (this may not meet the definition of "forest" for your question). But what about a biome adapted to cacti? The high moisture content of the plants makes them fire-resistant, and I’ve seen cactus beds very similar to trees. It’s a different kind of forest. The Fey would provide the ecological pressure for fewer normal plants, opening up niches to more varieties of fire-resistant cacti.

# Kawaii:

At 300+ inches of rain per year, the tropical island of Kawaii is as close to fire-proof as you can make a forest. It's the wettest spot on Earth. This is taking the rain forest to the extreme degree. There are rainbows every day, and a swamp on the side of a hill. Oceans and mountains provide natural fire breaks even if somehow things actually DID get out of control. The island is an extinct volcano, but your biome could be on an active volcano, and what screams fire elemental more than an active volcano?

• The different biomes may be a consideration but changing the tree biology steps outside what I can call a natural forest. Essentially the fey have come to earth and this is what they call home because they can't destroy it without really trying. I have thought about seasonal limitations but decided against it in the story, it limits them too much and creates an achilles heel. Feb 22, 2022 at 1:27
• @VogonPoet Have you considered making your fire elementals migratory? They move from wet climate to wet climate so as to stay in areas they don't destroy. Do the elementals WANT to preserve the trees, or is this a story element you want? Short of a kelp forest, everything can burn some of the time. Feb 22, 2022 at 2:04
• @VogonPoet Hawaii is an idyllic place for these fey. On the island of Kawaii, they get over 300 inches of rain a year (wettest place on Earth). Plus there are volcanos, which screams "fire elemental" to me. Daron's answer would work in this case, since there's ALWAYS rain. Otherwise even rain forests are vulnerable, and fuel just piles up. They can burn the sugar cane fields for harvest because there's so little risk of fire spreading Feb 22, 2022 at 2:09

Kelp forest

This environment is very difficult to burn, but may be hazardous to fire elementals if not wearing pyroscuba suits.

• Upvoted! great idea! (it will require some adjustments to the animal but ala, that can be hand-waived) Feb 22, 2022 at 20:37
• I'll expand this by: The forests lie within valleys, which hold heavier gasses than O2. For instance CO2 lakes. (or other gasses. Mar 1, 2022 at 11:46

## Two different frame challenges to all of this

Q: What non-magical conditions of topography and climate would a forest habitat need so that it would not propagate forest fires, and trees will also thrive, so fire-wielding fey can live safely?

A: You can't find a suitable forest, or.. you won't need to

## FC #1 Unless you invent new trees, fire is unsafe in any forest

Trees consist of wood. Lots of carbon. Trees leave their remains to dry out in summer, which will rule out culture- and occidental forests. They'll go up in smoke. In the tropic, you'd have rainforest, which is less vulnerable to occasional fire, but these creatures add more fire to the environment, after they arrived. The behavior of humans can be compared with that: we are also a relatively new species and we also use fire. Intentionally or unintentionally, people burn down rainforest. To prepare for agricultural use, people burn their land and the fire reaches the forest..

Rainforests are increasingly susceptible to forest fires today due to degradation from selective logging, fragmentation, and agricultural activities. ... Under dry conditions these agricultural forests can easily spread into neighboring rainforest.

Holes in the forest will expose more forest to the sun. The issue with these "fire pathways" created in a rainforest: it will increase vulnerability for future fire, which can again seem small, insignificant..

Small fires are not unusual today in the rainforest. Even in "virgin" forests, fires may burn across hundreds of thousands during dry years. While these fires may seem innocuous, with flames reaching only a few inches in height and having virtually no discernable impact on trees or the canopy itself, they cause insidious damage: in passing, the fire sets the path for recurrent fires and subsequent forest loss.Once-burned forests are twice as likely to be deforested as unburned forests, largely because the initial fires—however small—thin out the canopy, allowing more sunlight to reach the forest floor, drying out lead litter and setting the stage for future fires.

So.. even when a forest is inherently protected, by moist, or by evolutionary adjustments, it will remain susceptible to small damage, causing more damage, etc. This process is called a feedback loop.

https://rainforests.mongabay.com/rainforest-fires/

Some trees adjust to fire, like the ones described in one of the two main answers in this topic. In that case the issue is, evolution is a matter of millions of years of adjustment to a specific environment, in this case the probability of lightning to occur. The trees have only adjusted to fire that occurs naturally. Human agriculture is a new phenomenon, these dragons or "fire elementals" are also new.. Forests decline, your dragons won't help. Better house them away from trees.

## FC #2 Don't worry, nothing special is needed, let them live in the forest

At first, when I read the question, I wondered what was meant with the word "elementals" and "fey". The opener is vague about these creatures, in fact they could be animals, savvy aliens, or fantasy creatures.. There's a lot of freedom left, from our viewpoint, to define these "fey elementals".

Try a few cases, posing no problem at all

Suppose they're aliens

The easy one. A bunch of intelligent alien "fire elementals" landed their ships on Earth and colonized the forests. They consulted Vogon Poet for a place to live. They breath fire on a regular basis, but there actually isn't much to worry about. They can look after themselves, understand the vulnerability of these forests and prevent damage. They chose to live there, why destroy it ?

Suppose they're animals

There may be no issue at all. Take a forest animal as an example: the beaver could do considerable damage to forests, by logging at will.. and damaging lots of trees with their nasty strong teeth. But beavers don't do that. They build dams only to protect their dwelling and put the water where they need the water to be. Why would dragons, or any other fantasy animal behave differently ? After a few generations, they'll have their mating rituals (fire parties) in an open space somewhere, or outside the forest. Or.. they simply have learned already, how vulnerable this "wood" is, for fire. They can make fire, so they grew up with it.

Avoid projection, these elementals are unknown creatures

The worries of Vogon Poet, my above absolute nogo-scenario and most answers are actually based on projection.. as a human, I imagine a human using fire carelessly and I stick the same issue on these dragons. But.. is it valid to assume that ? will they behave like apes, like we do ? that is... consume a forest environment, drop your shit and move on ? That's what apes do.. and still do.. but why shouldn't these dragon creatures behave more balanced and adjust their behaviors to their environment? They are used to their own fire..

• Interesting take but is it possible that fire-resistant and fire-proof have different meanings? Nothing in the question asks for a forest that is impossible to burn. Only one which does not naturally propagate fire. These do exist, but only seasonally. Most night-time fires in temperate forests do not propagate, because they are below the dew point. There is a trend of this becoming less common however. I have lit and kept campfires in the pouring rain as well, vapor pressure density is not about wetness. Feb 28, 2022 at 22:52
• When temperature rises, the dew point will exist in shorter time frames during the day.. that makes the problem worse.. and I don't believe propagation of fire can be avoided in forests, Fire will always be a problem. So I think it's hopeless, please don't introduce these "elementals" (see above FC1). But your question also asked for a forest in which its inhabitants will be safe. Because they want (and need) to be safe, you can also assume there won't be any problem (see FC2) You can pick the one you like your question to be nuked by, what's the issue ? :d Feb 28, 2022 at 23:59
• .. and @VogonPoet I see you have put up a bonus for this !! I really wonder why you put so many points in, I predict there won't be an answer that will really work. The only reason I upvoted your question was I took it as a nice challenge to break it down. These "elementals" of yours will either damage the forest, or they will have to adjust their behaviours, imho. You can't even smoke in forests, let alone set free fire spewing dragons, unless they are civilized. Mar 1, 2022 at 0:10