Many describe fire as one of humanity's greatest discoveries. It helps to keep us warm, provides light and energy, and can the remaining coals can help to cook a mean dutch oven stew or cobbler. Fire works by combustion, requiring fuel, oxygen, and an energy source to kick start the reaction. Though this sounds more towards the chemistry side of science, fires in the wild have mastered physics in order to spread and speed up their consumption.
Most wild fires tend to seemingly prefer to spread uphill when compared to another other possible direction of travel. The reason for this leads to the physics of wild fires. Fire, like the sun, releases radiant energy to its surroundings. As a fire burns at the base of a hill, the fire radiates energy to the combustible matter in its path. This allows the fire to supply its own energy source to start a new combustion reaction or to feed its current reaction. Studies of wild fires in California, found that for every 10 degrees of slope on a hillside, a fire can double its speed.