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brush fire

a fire in an area of bushes, shrubs, or brush, as distinct from a forest fire.
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 of brush fire
1770-80, Americanism


[bruhsh-fahyuh r] /ˈbrʌʃˌfaɪər/
limited in scope, area, or importance, as some labor disputes or local skirmishes.
1945-50 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for brush fire
  • 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.
  • The victims were discovered when neighbors noticed a brush fire and called the fire department.
  • The basic brush fire philosophy will be to aggressively stop the forward progress of fire whenever possible.
  • In the event of a brush fire, numerous firefighters aircraft, and specialized equipment will respond as quickly as possible.
British Dictionary definitions for brush fire

brush fire

a fire in bushes and scrub
a minor local war
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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