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What would happen if the earth lights up on fire?

Like this picture below:

Earth on fire!!!!!!!

The earth is burning is it gonna explode or maybe even melt?

What would happen to the water? Is it gonna boil?

What if all the water turns into fuel?

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  • $\begingroup$ I get the feeling that a continent could burn but it probably wouldn't go much further than that. There's more water than burnable material, so the water would probably just end up killing the flames. But idk. $\endgroup$ – EFrog Jan 23 '15 at 9:09
  • $\begingroup$ I think everyone on land would die. $\endgroup$ – KSmarts Jan 23 '15 at 18:57
  • $\begingroup$ Why would you downvote an awesome post like this???? $\endgroup$ – Stefan Jan 26 '15 at 9:51
  • $\begingroup$ For a comparison, you could look at what happens during large forest fires such as occurs in California occasionally. Hundreds of thousands of acres burn, up to the limits of where burnable material exists. We humans struggle to control it. Often times the weather changes and things cool down, rain comes down, the winds change, etc. and the fire is able to be put out. But those fires can only occur when the right conditions exist - summery temperatures, dry periods. 1/2 the earth is in winter, half is is summer, there's a lot of water as noted, there's a lot of areas with deserts/no fuel. $\endgroup$ – CrossRoads Apr 3 '18 at 15:43
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It won't.

The classic fire triangle strikes again. For a fire to burn it needs oxygen, fuel, and heat.

Oxygen
The image you give in the question shows the fire to be big enough to reach into space. Space is almost empty and devoid of oxygen, and the oxygen in the atmosphere won't be enough to supply a fire that big. (I'll also note that a fire that big wouldn't look like that.)

Fuel
The only fuel that fire will find is whatever fuel there is on land. However, the Earth is around 65-70% water, which is definitely not fuel and will just stop the fire spreading.

Heat
Again to the space point - it's very cold in most of space. Some of the fire would receive heat from the sun, but much of it wouldn't due to being shaded by the Earth.

Bonus

The closest you're ever going to get to this is when the sun dies. It will cast off its outer layers and grow to a red giant, engulfing earth in fire and burning in the process.

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  • $\begingroup$ Thanks what if all the water changed into fuel? $\endgroup$ – Stefan Jan 23 '15 at 9:37
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    $\begingroup$ @Stefan It would burn for a while until all the oxygen runs out. Everyone would die through being burned to death or hypoxia. $\endgroup$ – ArtOfCode Jan 23 '15 at 9:43
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    $\begingroup$ If all the water was fuel, the Earth would not be able to support life. $\endgroup$ – Erik Jan 23 '15 at 9:55
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    $\begingroup$ About the closest you could get is something like (one explanation of) the Permian-Triassic extinction: massive volcanic eruptions setting coal beds on fire. $\endgroup$ – jamesqf Jan 23 '15 at 20:02

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