Skip to content
Science, Maths & Technology

Carbon process: Burning

Updated Sunday, 7th May 2000

Fire releases vast amounts of locked carbon into the atmosphere.

This page was published over five years ago. Please be aware that due to the passage of time, the information provided on this page may be out of date or otherwise inaccurate, and any views or opinions expressed may no longer be relevant. Some technical elements such as audio-visual and interactive media may no longer work. For more detail, see our Archive and Deletion Policy

Burning wood Copyrighted  image Icon Copyright:

Burning requires fuel and oxygen. Organic carbon in the fuel is combined with oxygen. This releases carbon dioxide, water, and energy. The reaction can happen without human intervention (for instance in a forest fire) but humans have learned to control the reaction, and release the energy stored in carbon-based fuels.

Whenever something burns much of the carbon it contained is pumped back into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide - for example, in a forest fire, the complex organic carbon compounds that the trees have built up and stored over years are broken down in a matter of hours.





Related content (tags)

Copyright information

For further information, take a look at our frequently asked questions which may give you the support you need.

Have a question?