brush fire

noun
1.
a fire in an area of bushes, shrubs, or brush, as distinct from a forest fire.
2.
any small but persistent problem, as within a large organization, a department of a government, or between nations: border skirmishes and other international brush fires.

Origin:
1770–80, Americanism

Dictionary.com Unabridged

brush-fire

[bruhsh-fahyuhr]
adjective
limited in scope, area, or importance, as some labor disputes or local skirmishes.
Also, brushfire.


Origin:
1945–50

Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Collins
World English Dictionary
brush fire
 
n
1.  a fire in bushes and scrub
2.  a minor local war

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Encyclopedia Britannica
Encyclopedia

brush fire

fire in vegetation that is less than 1.8 m (6 feet) tall, such as grasses, grains, brush, and saplings. See wildland fire.

Learn more about brush fire with a free trial on Britannica.com.

Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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Example sentences
The property owner noticed a small brush fire at the end of the trailer.
Fires will start from open flame, camp or brush fire.
Emergency calls may be a brush fire, structure fire, automobile accident or
  life-threatening medical emergency.
Fire crews responded to a two acre brush fire that started by arching power
  lines from the high winds.
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