Humans have been huddling around fires for thousands of years. The element of fire is a significant tool for humans in that it can be useful in a number of ways. From the very basic and primitive essentials to modern living amenities, fire plays one of the most important roles in our daily lives.

...
Campfires are just one of many ways people use fire to their advantage.

Heat

One of the most well known uses for fire is for heat. Dating back to the early years of mankind, humans used fire to keep warm. Even today people regularly use open fires to stay warm outdoors during camping trips or use fireplaces in homes to keep the house warm during the winter. Even gas burning central heating units ignite a flame and use its heat to warm air that is then blown into the home through ducts by a fan.

Light

Perhaps one of the most important uses of fire throughout history has been its ability to provide light. Fire is a good light source although it pales in comparison to other sources, such as light bulbs and flashlights for some purposes. It does, however, provide a soft glow that can help light an area and make it possible to move around at night outdoors. In the days prior to electric lights in homes, fire was a main source of light used in fireplaces and oil lanterns.

Cooking

Fire can be used to prepare foods in many ways. Open fires have long been used to roast meats and vegetables while grills use flames to prepare favorite foods like steaks, hamburgers, hot dogs, fish and much more. Many people prefer grilling to oven roasting or frying because of the distinct smoky flavor it produces. Fire is also the catalyst for smoking meats. This method of flavoring and preserving meats has been around for generations. Gas ranges also use open flames for cooking.

Energy

Every time you turn on a light in your home, flick on the air conditioner, watch television or use any other appliance, there is a good chance you have fire to thank for the luxury. While it doesn't seem apparent to many people, electricity does not magically occur without an energy source. According to the Polymer Science Learning Center website, the vast majority of electricity in the U.S. comes from the burning of fossil fuels. Fuels such as coal, natural gas or oil is burned to heat water and produce steam that builds pressure and forces turbines to turn, creating energy that supplies electricity to the public. Fire is at the root of the process, and, without it, much of the current electrical availability across the country and much of the world would not exist.

Blacksmithing

Trades such as blacksmithing and other more modern metal forging operations rely on fire to produce extreme heat to help shape raw materials into new objects.

Landscaping

A common use for fire is to aid in landscaping. Burning brush or burning raked leaves is a common task accomplished by many homeowners and landowners, and these tasks require fire.