Definition of brush fire in US English:

brush fire

(also brushfire)


  • 1A fire in brush or scrub.

    • ‘The engine cowlings were heavily damaged by a brush fire at Florence, South Carolina, and must be replaced as do the main gear doors which are severely corroded.’
    • ‘Residents joins firefighters to fend off a brush fire in Southern California.’
    • ‘Firefighters in Hawaii say a brush fire that has scorched more than 2,800 acres since Sunday is now mostly contained.’
    • ‘He's talking about a Malibu-area bungalow that survived a close call with a 1993 brush fire, only to end up awash in rocks and mud when the winter rains arrived months later.’
    • ‘A brush fire there has broken out within the last few hours.’
    • ‘As police cordoned off part of the crash sites, firefighting planes and helicopters swooped overhead to battle a brush fire started by the crash.’
    • ‘A massive brush fire sparked by the crash burned through much of the wreckage and debris scattered across two valleys and surrounding hills.’
    • ‘Then, he says, it resurfaces in middle school, when adolescents - either through delinquency or carelessness - set brush fires, trash-can fires, house fires and the like.’
    • ‘At Camp Pendleton Marine Corps Base, 50 miles north of San Diego, 1,350 firefighters were battling a 4,100-acre brush fire that was threatening 300 homes yesterday morning.’
    • ‘In Grammatiko, more than 100 firefighters, aided by eight special planes and three helicopters dropping water, fought a huge brush fire caused by the crash.’
    • ‘With Engine 128 expected to be out at the brush fire for several hours, Engine 58 had been moved up to take their place.’
    • ‘Cook, a member of the Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians, lost her house in a brush fire in March and has been living in a rental unit, along with five members of her family, ever since.’
    • ‘Firefighters made it to the scene of the crash quickly because they were fighting a nearby brush fire.’
    • ‘This is being called the Cave Creek complex fire after two smaller brush fires actually merged.’
    • ‘And you know, Alan, it's interesting because when you have an emergency, like a hurricane or like a brush fire, you need that money and you need it right away.’
    • ‘It could be a small brush fire started by lightning, which meant she would have to turn the other direction immediately.’
    • ‘The lightning in the distance had started a small brush fire.’
    • ‘Then, on October 23, a combination of a changed wind direction and an unusually dry summer combined to turn a local brush fire into a devastating conflagration.’
    • ‘The only ruffle had been a small brush fire on the city lawns right after the hearing, quickly discovered and quickly contained.’
    • ‘Brian was frightened when a song he was working on called 'Fire' coincided with a massive brush fire in L.A. County.’
  • 2A conflict, especially an armed conflict, that arises suddenly and is limited in scale or area.

    as modifier ‘fighting brush-fire wars’
    • ‘How can we ensure success in repelling an invasion when our ships have to constantly stave off these little brush fires?’
    • ‘Clinton's wars may have made Wag the Dog look naive, but he did valuable work in Ireland and attempted, albeit cynically, to douse the brush fires in the Middle East by manoeuvring the Palestinians into an illusory ‘peace’.’
    • ‘It is not a brush fire, but a full-fledged engagement that is going to take every aspect of our leadership and our development and our intellectual might to make sure we stay ahead of.’
    • ‘His combination of scientific method, confident proselytization, and field experience - as a soldier in both world wars and a journalist in Latin American brush fire wars - was convincing, and his idea gained extraordinary currency.’
    1. 2.1 A minor crisis.
      • ‘He may not have the time to manage the brush fires that kindle whenever biology, race, and intelligence are mentioned together.’
      • ‘But it's always something with this team: a brooding Frank Thomas here, a struggling Mark Buehrle there, one brush fire or another.’
      • ‘As if Finchem did not have enough problems rounding up sponsors for the regular tour, he was also facing a brush fire on his developmental tour and a potential inferno on the circuit for players 50 and older.’
      • ‘‘If we're just putting out brush fires, we're going to get further and further behind,’ Niziolek said.’
      • ‘In dealing with Payton, and with other brush fires that have sprung up around the Sonics, McMillan has been a master of rapprochement without even knowing it.’