Kill It with Fire

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Of course you should fight fire with fire. You should fight everything with fire.

Prometheus did not just give humanity the light of reason, progress, technology, and the power to rival God when he handed us fire, but the means to dispatch just about any monster imaginable. Considering how Greek Mythology is a Fantasy Kitchen Sink, that was a good thing. The symbolism behind this has to do with fire's associations with purification and Light Is Good, and partly because it represents humanity's dominion over the natural world. More literally a burning stick was humankind's first effective defense against nocturnal predators.

Also, in a pinch, it can still burn things, or at least scare them off. Arrows on Fire, Flaming Swords, flamethrowers, or good old Torches and Pitchforks can work wonders when dealing with everything from Frankenstein's Monster to Complete Monster to a Monster House.

This is prevalent not just in myth and fiction or games based on it, but also in works that are completely new and unrelated. For example, the Hydra and Trolls demonstrate one of the most frequent, and logical, applications for anti-monster fire: It prevents regeneration. In the case of The Undead, usually they're too dumb and slow to put it out (zombies), it reminds them of the sun (vampires), or they're already walking kindling (mummies). Aliens, of course, can be Immune to Bullets but will burn up nicely in fire and not go into Body Horror or Biological Mashup. Witches and heretics for a long time were considered to be in league with evil as well, and so it was a common myth that they were dealt with in the same manner.

You know what the best part of Kill It with Fire is? It works on regular people wearing masks too. Kind of like decapitation (which also works on most things) and a stake through the heart.

If something's too big or tough for a regular fire, you can always use plasma or Hurl It Into the Sun. This has also been subject to Memetic Mutation, as an alternative name for Brain Bleach.

A character who's a little too enthusiastic about using this can become a Pyromaniac.

See also Incendiary Exponent, Man On Fire, Burn, Baby, Burn, Fire-Breathing Weapon, and Hellfire. Compare Stuff Blowing Up, and Playing with Fire - for when someone has fire as a Stock Superpower. When this just makes things worse, see Infernal Retaliation. The less-used opposite is either Kill It with Water or Kill It with Ice, or even Heal It with Fire.

Not to be confused with Kill It With Fryer, or Kill It With Friar.

Examples of Kill It with Fire include:

Ancient Mythology[edit | hide | hide all]

  • Heracles used fire to cauterize the Hydra's stumps before it could grow new heads. Or to be precise: Heracles smashed the heads with his club, his nephew Iolaos cauterized them.
    • This technically didn't KILL the Hydra, since one of its heads was immortal. He just buried it under a rock afterward.
  • Many of the admittedly extremely varied world folklore about vampires feature either an aversion to fire, or immolating the vampire's remains as the final step in destroying it for good.
  • In Norse mythology the Ragnarok ends with the fire giant Surtr killing everything. With fire. Well, except for Ygdrasil and those beings hiding under its roots. But otherwise—the entirety of creation, all of the nine worlds, killed. With fire.


Anime & Manga[edit | hide]

  • In Parasyte, the titular aliens are almost completely defenseless against fire.
    • Ditto with acids. Due to said aliens Bizarre Alien Biology, anything that humans shouldn't get on their skin can be turned into a somewhat effective weapon.
  • In Rumiko Takahashi's Mermaid Saga, there are three ways to kill immortals: decapitation, a very particular poison, and burning them down to ashes.
  • Subverted in Mushishi. When a village and their resident mushishi finally decide to burn a parasitic plant mushi, but after doing so discover that the mushi intentionally takes over like kudzu in order to be burned so the mushi can enter its adult form.
  • In Berserk, when Guts is attacked by several small fairy demons during the Rosine arc, he kills them by leaping into the fire he recently started. Guts is like that.
    • Schierke, during the battle in the city against the Kushan demon soldiers, proceeds to incinerate a whole bunch of them by summoning a giant fire wheel to set them ablaze.
    • Farnese's role as the figurehead of the Holy Iron Chain Knights is to investigate reported miracles for the Holy See... which directly translates to "burning people who don't believe or don't believe enough in the Holy See's religion at the stake." And getting off on it. Plus, her history with pets and servants that didn't please her.
  • As per Burn the Witch, Evangeline's hunters in Mahou Sensei Negima during the middle-ages have attempted to kill her this way (fire over ice, right???). It didn't work.
  • Claude Torchweaver, A.K.A. The Crazy Flamethrower Mormon, from Black Lagoon's "Greenback Jane" arc.
  • One of the weaknesses of the aliens in Tekkon Kinkreet.
  • In King of Thorn, some particularly tough octopus-like monsters prove vulnerable to good old-fashioned incineration.
    • Likewise, this is how Alice deals with the Medusa virus when it takes the form of Laloo. However, the smoke from the fire is what likely caused the virus to spread.
  • In one of his... less stable moments, Izaya sets his whole game board on fire in Durarara!!. Also, Walker sets the Blue Squares leader's van on fire with molotovs when he and the rest of the gang rescue Saki.
    • And in volume 8 Mikado ends up setting someone on fire. On purpose.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist: There is a reason why Roy Mustang is known as the Flame Alchemist. One of his most triumphant fights is in the manga with Lust. Roy is mostly useless when water is used against him; however, using Havoc's lighter and the oxygen in the water, he was able to create a devastating fire attack that took her by surprise. Then there is the end-fight that is a huge CMOA for Roy; he seared his wound to stop bleeding to death, carved a transmutation circle directly upon his hand, and with a lighter, incinerated Lust multiple times until she finally died.
  • After acquiring the Legendary Orb of Fire from Mount Aso, Yaiba's answer to any threat becomes "Toss a Giant Fireball at them".
  • From Cowboy Bebop, in the eleventh episode 'Toys in the Attic', Spike attempts to kill the It Came From the Fridge Eldritch Abomination with a blowtorch/flamethrower. It's still alive afterward, but it was a valiant effort.
  • In Sailor Moon's first season penultimate episode, Sailor Mars destroys two of the DD Girls in succession with her Fire Soul attack. The first she kills while trapped in an ice dome by the second. The second electrocutes her and leaves her for dead...then Mars grabs her and, with the last of her power, ("Fire...SOUL!!!") obliterates her before dying.
  • For anyone who wants to put Tomie away for good, this method IS the solution.
  • In the Excel Saga manga, Hyatt catches on fire, horrifying Excel and Elgala and leaving them wondering if burning could cause her Final Death. It doesn't kill her, but her incinerated skin just flakes off, revealing a pristine Hyatt beneath it.
  • In Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, the people of the Valley of the Wind force their conquerers to give them flamethrowers so they can expunge an invasive outcrop of poisonous spores. Then, they turn around and use them to drive out their conquerers.
  • The Uchiha clan in the anime/manga Naruto are reknowned for their fire-based jutsus.
  • Kill it with fire ... NOW.
  • Go ahead, guess what is the main character's superpower in Flame of Recca.


The Bible[edit | hide]

  • After discovering there's only a single righteous resident at the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah (it was Lot, the nephew of Abraham), God (through two of his angels) told Lot to leave the city. After Lot did what he was told, taking his family to escape, God did exactly what this trope says—a rain of hellfire and brimstone reduced both cities to ashes.
    • He did something different in Egypt, where He used burning hail—in other words, ice that is on fire.
  • Aaron's sons Nadab and Abihu burn incense in a censer when God hadn't told them to. "So fire went out from the Lord and devoured them, and they died before the Lord."
  • This seemed to be Elijah's M.O. Just ask those soldiers.
  • Nebuchadnezzar's preferred method of execution in the book of Daniel.
  • There is Hell if you want your gratuitous fire usage. While Hell became more associated with fire after Dante wrote The Divine Comedy there are a few associations between fire and Hell in The Bible itself.
  • In Judges 18 the Danites while looking for land massacred the people of Laish and "...burned the city with fire."
  • Under Mosaic law, fire was the standard, final "treatment" for garments or buildings that had been infected with disease/mold/etc. First, you were supposed to try water. If that worked, great. If it didn't, burn it.


Card Games[edit | hide]

  • In Magic: The Gathering, this is the classic endgame strategy of mono-red: when the opponent builds an army and all other colors' offenses would stall, the red mage points a spell at the opponent's face and torches him to death directly.
    • Mid-game, it's also helpful to wipe out an opponent's creatures with cards like Incinerate, Fireball, and Inferno.
    • Then there's the character of Jaya Ballard, who's this trope incarnate. She's appeared on the flavor texts of over a dozen red spells, including Incinerate and Inferno, and her own card pays homage to these spells.

"Some people have said there's no subtlety to destruction. You know what? They're dead."
"Of course you should fight fire with fire. You should fight everything with fire."
"Yes, I think 'toast' is an appropriate description."

    • Chandra Nalar seems to be the new Jaya Ballard.
      • Chandra was even taught by Jaya that, "When in doubt, use the biggest fire spell you know." Given that her ultimate abilities are some of the biggest explosions ever seen in red, she's learned quite well.
      • And like Ms. Ballard, she has a few good one-liners of her own on the subject:

"Who'd want to ignite things one at a time?"
"Spontaneous combustion is a myth. If you burst into flame, someone wanted you to."

    • Sarkhan Vol fights fire with dragonfire.
  • "Burn" techniques are a good way of reducing your opponent's LP to cinders in Yu-Gi-Oh!. You should be able to guess which Attribute has all of the best burners (hint: it's red and has the Kanji for fire on it).
  • For a long time in Pokémon TCG, Charizard was the most powerful and valuable card. It destroyed almost every opponent in one hit and had the most HP ever seen. Unfortunately, the ability is quite expensive leading you to "burn away" your deck, though some strategies center around this.


Comic Books[edit | hide]

  • Aside from sonic weapons, fire is the only other weapon generally effective against the symbiotes that give Spider-Man such a hard time.
  • The Martian Manhunter generally has powers on par with Superman, plus a few extra—but he's not fireproof. DC seems to keep going back and forth on whether this is a physical vulnerability or a psychological problem.
  • In Mike Mignola's Hellboy and BPRD comics, it seems like every encounter with the Lovecraftian Cosmic Horror underlings of the Ogdru Jahad ends with pyrokinetic Liz Sherman burning the Thing(s) to cinders. Subverted in the most recent case, as it's been revealed that burning Katha Hem to dust didn't quite put him to rest.


Fan Works[edit | hide]


Film[edit | hide]

  • An aging JFK (Ossie Davis in a wheelchair) and Elvis (Bruce Campbell, natch) use fire to vanquish the mummy in Bubba Ho-Tep.
  • In The Thing, the smallest part of the alien life form is capable of mutation and assimilation, so the only sure way to destroy it completely is with fire. But even then, it's not even particularly flammable. Fire is the only way to do it, but it's still not a very good way.
  • Both applied and subverted in Return of the Living Dead: because the zombies in that movie can't be brought down with simple headshots, the only way to destroy the first one is to incinerate it... but that just causes more problems, because the ashes get into the clouds and the next good rain soaks the land with Trioxin, which carries the virus on. Cue the Zombie Apocalypse! Electricity is shown to do the job later.
    • Speaking of the first film, Burt Wilson is making last-minute arrangements for the yellow zombie, which he and his employees cut up earlier when Removing the Head or Destroying the Brain doesn't kill it, to be completely obliterated by the oven.

Burt Wilson: You're absolutely certain that this is gonna get rid of everything and do the trick? I mean, nothing left?
[Ernie shakes his head]
Ernie Kaltenbrunner: Nothing but a little-bitty pile of ashes.
Burt Wilson: We don't even want the ashes!
[Ernie smiles and leans over the metal grate]
Ernie Kaltenbrunner: Then I'll turn it up higher, and we'll burn up the ashes, too.
[Ernie slides the zombie into the oven]
Ernie Kaltenbrunner: Dust to dust.

  • Subverted in Evolution; the military plots to destroy the largest sample of the alien entity with tons upon tons of napalm. However, as the scientists find out right as the plan is about to be carried out, fire makes the thing reproduce even faster; a small sample in a petri dish exposed to the flame of a lit match is enough to make it overtake one wall of the room they were in. Instead, the day is saved with dandruff shampoo Head & Shoulders.
  • The xenomorphs in the Alien films have an aversion to fire. Furthermore, flamethrowers prove to be the best weapons against them in close quarters since it largely avoids spilling the creature's blood, which is dangerously corrosive.

Ash: Most animals retreat from fire, yes?

  • Subverted in The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms. The giant dinosaur could be killed with fire, or with most other things, but fire would carry its diseased particles all over the world and we'd all die anyway.
  • Played with at the beginning of Shrek: One member of the angry mob waves a torch in Shrek's face, hoping to scare him. Shrek licks his fingers and calmly snuffs the flame out with his fingers.
  • The last resort of The Rock, should The So-Called Coward and the Gentleman Thief fail to recover the weaponized phlebotinum, involves the Air Force drenching the island in thermite. For those of you who don't know, thermite is fire Up to Eleven squared.
  • In Gremlins 2, Gizmo kills the spider gremlin with a flaming arrow made from a pencil and a bottle of white-out corrective fluid.
  • In Godzilla vs Hedorah, hippies partying on a mountain try attacking Hedorah by throwing torches. It obviously doesn't work and the ones that aren't the main human characters die very quickly.
  • In Dawn of the Dead, they burn a group of zombies behind a fence trying to get through by pouring petrol over them. Later they use gas canisters to knock over and kill zombies to get through the masses.
    • On the DVD extras however, one character says that molotov cocktails don't do anything but make them smell like burnt meat... and make him hungry.
  • In Live and Let Die, James Bond kills a snake with a makeshift flamethrower, and in Licence to Kill, he sets a villain on fire using a lighter (though said villain was covered in gasoline, so it's plausible).
  • The giant radioactive ants in the classic monster movie Them (1954) are hunted through the Los Angeles storm drains by the protagonists armed with flamethrowers.
  • Office Space. Either averted or played straight, depending on how much of an unholy abomination you consider the office building to be.
  • In Outbreak, this is the government response to a local outbreak of a deadly virus. (More specifically, using the fire caused by a fuel-air bomb to starve the place of oxygen. No oxygen, no hosts; no hosts, no virus.)
  • The 1931 version of Frankenstein (1931 film) ends with the Monster being trapped in a burning windmill, and (presumably) killed. As we find out in Bride of Frankenstein, it didn't quite do the trick...
  • In Westworld, Richard Benjamin's character attempts to do this to the Yul Brenner Gunslinger robot. Doesn't quite work, though.
  • In Outlander, the Moorwens were driven to the brink of extinction by the firebombing of their homeworld. Kainan replicates this in ancient Norway, by luring the solitary Moorwen into a pit filled with whale oil and lighting it on fire. It only succeeds in singeing and ticking off the creature.
  • Subverted in Childs Play, where the protagonists burn devil doll Chucky to a crisp. It only makes him angrier and freakier-looking.
  • Subverted in Terminator, when destroying the titular indestructible death-robot's gasoline truck seems to work for a little bit, but his creepy-ass metal endoskeleton just gets up again after a few seconds, despite the fact that all its skin just got burned off. When fire just isn't hot enough, you can always try molten iron, as in the 2nd film.
  • In The Crawling Eye, the titular alien creatures are destroyed when the Air Force napalms the mountainside where they had gathered. Whether such techniques were necessary aren't really known, though, since it was the first thing the humans had tried.
  • The Elite Squad has the drug dealers using a Truth in Television technique known as "microwave" - the victim is put inside a pile of tires, which are then set on fire (during the shooting of that scene, the criminal "consultants" had to remind the ones being burned to scream horribly).
  • This was the original solution to the Freddy Kreuger problem in A Nightmare on Elm Street. Partially subverted, considering he just came back as a dream demon with horrible burn scars.
  • What ultimately happens (probably by accident) to the Third Castle in Ran, preventing Lord Hidetora's Seppuku by driving him insane. Well, that and the broken sword.
  • 1408: This is how the room is finally destroyed.
  • Inglourious Basterds. Shosanna filled the theatre with Nazis and burned it to the ground.
  • Montag of The Wizard of Gore has magically summoned a fire and... the fiance runs in and pushes him into the fire, where he burns to death horribly. The fiance claims that he was going to force everyone to walk into the fire. Except that the talk show host states that it makes no sense for him to hypnotize a TV audience, and then to create the fire in that one location.
  • In most zombie films, only a headshot will terminate the walking dead. In The Living Dead at Manchester Morgue, also known as Let Sleeping Corpses Lie, zombies are primarily killed with fire. And they go up pretty easy.
  • The final airstrike in Platoon, in response to a request by The Captain to "expend all remaining ordnance on my pos", includes plenty of napalm mixed in with regular bombs. The firestorm almost obliterates everything and everyone left.
  • In Apocalypse Now in what is arguably the most famous scene in the entire movie Kilgore leads his men into battle in a formation of helicopters in order to storm a beach with "Ride of the Valkyries" playing to intimidate the enemy, all so that they could surf on the beach for that day. Naturally the Vietnamese suffer plenty of fire from the helicopters and the men on the ground but the climax of the battle comes when Colonel Kilgore calls in a massive air strike that obliterates the opposition. As Kilgore watches this he famously expresses how much he loves to kill things with fire, even going so far as to reminisce about a massive air strike he witnessed during an earlier battle during the Vietnam War where he marveled at all the destruction that the bombs caused, remarking to Captain Willard and Private Lance:

Colonel Kilgore: You smell that?
Private Lance: What?!
Kilgore: Napalm son. Nothing else in the world smells like that. I love the smell of napalm in the morning. You know one time we had a hill bombed for 12 hours and when it was all over I walked up. We didn't find one of 'em, not one stinking dink body. The smell... you know that gasoline smell. The whole hill. It smelled like... (sniffs the air, pondering for a moment) victory. (Mortar strike goes off behind him, Colonel Kilgore doesn't even flinch) Someday this war is gonna end.


Literature[edit | hide]

  • In Glen Cook's Garrett P.I. books, this is how Garrett kills a nest of vampires.
  • In John Hodgman's second book, More Information Than You Require, he says of rats: "You must kill them all. Do it with fire."
    • He says the same thing about infestations of Scottie Dogs and... tides.
    • Fire works well for most household pests. But for replicants, you've just got to bite the bullet and hire a Blade Runner.
  • The Monster Plant Beasties from The Day of the Triffids are especially vulnerable to flamethrowers, as they can't tell where the flame is coming from and panic, sometimes setting their allies on fire as well. Too bad there's a fuel shortage due to that Cozy Catastrophe...
    • It's not so much a case of panicking as even noticing: flamethrowers are more effective than guns because Triffids don't appear to have any vital organs. (Following the same principle, shotguns work better than handguns or rifles.)
  • Harry Potter and Dumbledore use it to drive off the Inferi at the end of The Half-Blood Prince. And in Deathly Hallows, Fiendfyre turns out to be one of the few ways to destroy Horcruxes.
    • Notable for the brilliant exchange between Harry and Dumbledore that went something like...

Dumbledore: However, like many creatures that dwell in cold and darkness, they fear light and warmth, which we shall therefore call to our aid should the need arise.
Harry: * bewildered expression*
Dumbledore: Fire, Harry.
Harry: Oh... right...

  • JRR Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings—in the first fight against the Ringwraiths, swords prove ineffective, so Aragorn grabs a flaming piece of wood form the fire and drives them back. Works remarkably well considering they are the immortal indestructible specters of long dead kings, capable of killing with even a slight blow and causing even squads of veteran soldiers to run in fear. It's hinted, though, that the Ringwraiths are in a weaker state during their initial attack on the Shire.
    • Somewhat justified as they are at the point described as being stronger in the dark, and that they need the cloaks to have form and to affect the world. Cloaks can burn and fire is bright light.
    • Also, in the modern movie adaptation, fire is the orcs' most useful weapon against the Ent attack. Which is a pretty good idea, as Ents are trees. When Isengard is flooded, you can see a burning Ent rush forward and dunk itself to douse the flames.
      • In the books Saruman uses some kind of automatic flamethrowers against them, causing them to flood Isengard.
      • In the books, the dwarves' need for firewood (for their forges) was one reason Ents didn't like dwarves very much. There is a bit in The Two Towers where a tree bends down to get some warmth from a fire, but in general, the trees don't like it.
  • In Scott Westerfeld's Midnighters trilogy, the animals are afraid of human technology, including, but not limited to, fire.
  • In Terry Pratchett's Discworld, werewolves can only be killed by either silver or fire. Likewise, zombies, vampires and mummies are noted to be very flammable.
  • In The Hobbit, fire proves effective in driving off wargs, but much less so when some goblins arrive, who simply use it against the dwarves.
  • The Zombie Survival Guide notes that fire is the only way to safely dispose of a Solanium-infected corpse. It's not that effective as a weapon, because the zombies don't feel pain and won't notice they're on fire, but all traces of the infection will be wiped out once the fire brings them down.
    • And in World War Z, the Army develops an incendiary bullet, nicknamed the "Cherry Pie", designed to burn up a Zombie's brain without causing collateral damage.
  • In The Sookie Stackhouse Mysteries, vampires are highly vulnerable to flame, to the point where matches will make some flinch.
  • In A Song of Ice and Fire, the undead wights are nearly indestructible except to fire. The only body part of a wight in the series not destroyed by fire remained animate until it rotted away.
    • It's stated that Mad King Aerys was a big fan of this trope.
  • As in Mythology above, the vampires in numerous works of Gothic literature—including Carmilla, Varney the Vampire, and Dracula must be destroyed with fire after they're staked and decapitated. The fact that Dracula's body is not burned when he's killed in the original novel is often cited as a reason for latter-day authors to bring him Back from the Dead. Again.
  • A subversion: in H.P. Lovecraft's The Case of Charles Dexter Ward, a repeated theme and instruction is to refrain from killing the necromancer villain with fire, as he can be resurrected from the ashes. Instead, the protagonist is instructed to dissolve the body in acid.
  • The vampires in Stephenie Meyer's Twilight can be permanently destroyed by using fire and not much else.
    • It's worth noting that Carlisle failed to try immolation during his many attempts at killing himself after he became a vampire, despite his father being a pastor who believed in wiping out evil supernatural creatures in such a manner.
  • At the end of the Jurassic Park book, there isn't any of that "Let the dinos live in peace on the island" stuff from the movie. The Costa Rican Air Force levels the island with napalm.
  • In Brian Caswell's The View From Ararat, the only known ways to destroy the inorganic super-plague threatening life on planet Deucalion are extreme heat, and an enzyme conveniently found in all native Deucalion plants and animals, half a galaxy away from where the disease first surfaced.
  • The finale of Peter F. Hamilton's Nights Dawn trilogy, The Naked God, has a straight example—the Orgathe are immune to most weapons but very vulnerable to heat.
  • A major villain in the Fingerprints series starts out as a Knife Nut. When it becomes clear that a single knife is insufficient to carry out her Roaring Rampage of Revenge, she figures fire will work better. It does.
  • The War Against the Chtorr. Flamethrowers are the best means of dealing with the Chtorran gastropedes (and various other forms of Chtorran ecology), and are preferred by the antagonist over cold-gas and flechette rifles. This is because their unique alien physiology makes the gastropedes very difficult to kill.
  • In Dan Abnett's Warhammer 40,000 novel The Brothers Of The Snake, when Khiron killed a fellow Space Marine, he claimed he had been possessed by a daemon and that, since he had not used fire, it had escaped. Fortunately, Priad remembers this when he figures out who it escaped to.
  • In Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book, when Shere Khan incites the Pack against Mowgli, Mowgli uses "the Red Flower" against them.
  • In Poul Anderson's Three Hearts and Three Lions, they discover the troll can be killed only with fire. (This is the source for D&D.)
  • In Graham McNeill's Warhammer 40,000 Ultramarines novel Dead Sky Black Sun, the Living Shadows in the Eye of Terror can be killed only with fire. Even that is not very effective; while the Space Marines can survive, the two Imperial Guardsmen with them are nearly killed by the heat they need, even with the Marines trying to shield them.
  • In Anne McCaffrey's Dragonriders of Pern series, fire spewed by male and green dragons (and flamethrowers wielded by queenriders and ground crews) are the primary means of fighting Threadfall.
  • Beatty in Fahrenheit 451. "If you have a problem, don't face it, burn it". Indeed. The world in Fahrenheit 451 subscribes to this ideology against books and literature.
  • Occurs several times in Stephen King's books, especially in dealing with Hell Hotels: The Shining (with bonus wasp's nest-destroying Flash Back) and attempted in 1408
  • Subverted Trope in The Road Virus Goes North, a short story by Stephen King. A horror writer buys the last surviving painting of a troubled artist who burned all his other works and then committed suicide. When he realises the painting is cursed he tries to get rid of it, but the painting keeps returning intact. Eventually he burns the picture, because that's what works in the books, right? Unfortunately it turns out that the artist didn't burn all his paintings except this one, he burned all his paintings including this one.
  • Subverted in John W. Campbell's "Who Goes There?" where the scientists in Antarctica use high voltage electricity to kill telepathic, body-morphing aliens. This makes a lot more sense than the flamethrowers used in the movie (John Carpenter's The Thing) because it takes a while to kill something with fire. Electricity can zap every cell in an organism instantly—hard to adapt to, eh? For another good reason to use electrons, see the end of the movie, where the entire base is charred rubble and the survivors are shelterless in ANTARCTICA.
    • Played straight in the conclusion of the original story - the final alien is destroyed with an oversized blowtorch after a human fires bullets through all three of its eyes, which causes it to become immobilised. Also, the electrocution weapon required mains power from the base's generators, and the final confrontation is too far away to run a lead.
  • Karen Miller's Godspeaker Trilogy where Marlon is immolated by Dexterity's glowing touch
  • In P.C. Hodgell's Chronicles of the Kencyrath, fire is the best way to kill the shapeshifting, vampiric Changers, which are hard to kill but whose blood is very flammable. It's also the best way to kill the zombielike Haunts.
  • In the Night World series, fire is the only thing that can kill any creature, be it witch, human, werewolf, shapeshifter, or vampire. One character does freak out when another speaks nonchalantly about burning a werewolf to death (including the phrase "one of the traditional methods"), so it appears to be a less-used tactic... now.
  • A tanker truck, a fire truck, and an intentionally damaged bridge that the Posleen have to cross provides much fun for the humans defending Fredricksburg, at one point in Gust Front.
  • Sun Tzu devotes a chapter of The Art of War to the use of fire against an enemy.
  • When Harry Dresden of The Dresden Files yells "Fuego!", you take cover and pray for mercy. When he yells "Pyrofuego", you run for your damn life. He's only had to cast the latter spell twice in the entire series, and both times, those on the receiving end... let's just say they had their whole day ruined.
    • He's also a fan of a shotgun loaded with fireball or dragon's breath rounds.
    • As is Kincaid.
    • Harry also once created a spear of flame 20 stories high. Not for nothing does Elaine (no slouch herself) refer to him as the most powerful wizard she's ever met.
    • "How about a little fire Scarecrow?"
    • The Holy Fire of the Swords (and occasionally their wielders) is very effective against the forces of darkness.

Harry: Let that be a lesson to you. Hands off the Fist of God.

    • In-universe, Harry notes that fire really is a highly-effective weapon against all sorts of nasties, as well as being used against magical enchantments. Fire can disrupt and destroy enchantments when used with that intent, and any wizard worth their salt in combat learns how to use fire first. In Turn Coat, a squadron of Wardens cuts loose on a horde of summoned spirits, and the ensuing literal firestorm is simply stunning to behold.
  • Although all the Elemental Powers in the Codex Alera are useful in war, using firecrafting to make a Flaming Sword is a common tactic when High Lords are fighting because wounds that have been cauterized are extremely difficult for watercrafters to heal. Fire is also handy against the Vord, since the croach they rely on to keep them alive is very flammable.
    • The beam of sunlight (while technically a product of aircrafting) is a prime example.
  • The only way to keep nihil from coming back for more.
  • In the conclusion to An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, Scottish philosopher David Hume says that reasoning can only lead us either to mathematical truths or knowledge about matters of fact based on experiment:

If we take in our hand any volume; of divinity or school metaphysics, for instance; let us ask, Does it contain any abstract reasoning concerning quantity of number? No. Does it contain any experimental reasoning concerning matter of fact and existence? No. Commit it then to the flames: For it can contain nothing but sophistry and illusion.

  • As mentioned in the main description, the trolls in the Forgotten Realms world regenerate and can recover from anything...except being set on fire. The heroes in Streams of Silver take advantage of this weakness as much as they can.
  • In Andy Hoare's White Scars novel Hunt for Voldorius, the Bloodtide, begging for death, tells them to use fire.
  • The Krytos Plague in the X Wing Series is so highly infectious that decontamination of a building consists of burning everything inside it with plasma, including burning half an inch of concrete off the walls.
  • In Robert E. Howard's Conan the Barbarian story "Black Colossus", the charging knights are destroyed with a wall of fire.
  • Rapier in The Five Greatest Warriors burns several men to death inside the Third Vertex
  • Averted in Terry Goodkind's Stone of Tears. An Eldritch Abomination shows up and starts killing the crap out of people. A wizard sets it on fire. It screams in pain. Then it puts the fire out and starts killing people some more.
  • In the last Time Scout book, a bad guy running from the heroes tosses a burning rag onto a barrel of gunpowder in the middle of an arsenal in the middle of Victorian London's dockland. This causes some commotion.
  • In Michael Moorcock's The Sailor on the Seas of Fate there's a scene where the heroes have to destroy a pair of buildings. The captain of their ship is insistent that the buildings can only be destroyed by fire. It turns out that the buildings are a pair of evil alien sorcerers.
  • In H. G. Wells's short story "The Cone" an angry steel worker decides to kill his boss by throwing him off of an overhead catwalk onto the red-hot vent cone on top of a blast furnace. His victim starts burning immediately, and then It Gets Worse when the vent opens releasing scalding gases. Total Squick.
  • The only reliable way to kill the undead in The Witch Watch. That and just cutting their heads off and living it powerless and underground whilst still being conscious.


Live Action TV[edit | hide]

  • In Supernatural, "salt and burn the body" is the standard solution to malevolent spirits and such. If the body's already been cremated, the boys need to find an alternate solution. Sometimes this means finding the little bit of the body that wasn't burned and setting fire to it.
  • In one episode of Star Trek: Enterprise, an alien race is seen using flamethrowers on people who have been infected by a disease that effectively turns them into another alien species.
  • At the end of the Doctor Who serial Planet of Fire, the Doctor tried this on the Master. He got better.
  • One of the ways to kill vampires in Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
    • Then there was the time Angel became the Big Bad, killed Jenny, then set up the body to get off on how the heroes would react to her murder. That was too much for a distraught Giles, and the former Ripper loaded up with a bowgun, fuel bombs and a freaking flaming baseball bat.
    • On one Angel episode, Wes and Fred went after a demon nest with blowtorches, setting the whole thing ablaze.
  • Not necessarily fire, but Sebaceans on Farscape go into horrendous unrecoverable comas if their body temperature gets too high (and at levels that would be on the high end of tolerable for most other races, too), making deserts, low fevers, and oversized bonfires potentially deadly. Given just how badass Aeryn is when not suffering heat delirium, it might count.
    • Scarrans, who have the power to project their body heat into deadly beams, love using this against their enemies- especially Sebaceans.
    • Ditto the fire-breathing Sheeyangs.
  • On Lost, Kate burned her drunk & abusive father (and his whole house) to the ground.
    • In the season five finale, the Man in Black kicks a dying Jacob into a firepit to finish him off.
  • A recent episode of Stargate Universe has them using flamethrowers to hold back a very aggressive alien parasite that seems to creep along the ground like a fungus. How flamethrowers got aboard Destiny is anyone's guess.
  • In the series Legend of the Seeker (as well as it's book counterpart), the only way to permanently kill a baneling is to burn the body so it cannot be revived. A method the resident wizard Zedd uses proficiently.
  • Subversion: DO NOT USE THE FLAMETHROWERS!
  • The Mad King from Game of Thrones apparently loved this trope. It was his favourite way to get rid of his enemies. His enemies including women and babies that the voices in his head told him to destroy. His last words were even 'burn them all,' which he repeated for hours.
    • The Wildlings are shown to immediately burn any dead body to prevent them from becoming one of the White Walkers.
  • In Torchwood: Miracle Day Category Ones, people who are so injured or sick they should be dead are burned.


Music[edit | hide]

  • Ice Cube's "We Had To Tear This Motherfucker Up" is about the L.A. riots. Including the rash of arsons. It's from the point of view of a rioter.
  • Amon Amarth has numerous songs about the fires and fire god of Ragnarok. "Gods of War Arise" describes vikings burning own a sleeping village.
  • P!nk has a single - Funhouse - that seems to relate the story of her getting bored of somewhere, then killing it with fire. "It's time to start the countdown / I'm gonna burn it down, down, down / I'm gonna burn it down."
  • The Prodigy seem to like this trope a lot. Songs include "Fire", "Firestarter", "Fuel My Fire", "Spitfire", "The Heat the Energy" and "World's on Fire". In the same let's-burn-the-world vein you could probably also include songs like "Molotov Bitch" and "Hotride".
  • In Rammstein's "Rosenrot" video, Till's character is burned at the stake.
    • And in a later video, Haifisch, when Schneider daydreams about killing Till, this is his method of choice.
  • Erase This by Evanescence

"Burn it till there's nothing left"


Tabletop Games[edit | hide]

  • Dungeons & Dragons has this for trolls (although acid works just as well). Based off the Hercules example, it's necessary to cauterize the hydra's stumps so new heads don't grow. (Save for fire breathing hydras. They need ice.)
    • And yes, you can Just keep loping off heads and causing new ones to grow until the thing cannot move due to low blood pressure, but its a VERY bad idea to actually do so since it takes a while to pull off (assuming you do not have a bunch of hasted gnomes with chainsaws) and every second that you take to take off a head is a second that the OTHER heads are trying to kill you.
    • Fire is also extremely useful against most undead, who are often immune to a wide variety of attack modes.
    • In general, when wizards start to cast Fireball is the point where they being to outshine the fighters in combat, and most of the high level, high damage spells tend to be fire.
      • How About This perfect example of a fandom having too much time on their hands?
      • Apocalypse from the Sky is a ninth-level spell from the Book of Vile Darkness. It isn't too damaging for a ninth-level spell (10d6 to all in the radius, which is available seven levels previously), but it has a radius of ten miles per caster level. The weakest person who can cast this spell would be destroying small countries and almost everything in them, and all of it would be through FIRE.
      • The psionic version: the Pyrokineticist. Always chaotic, rarely good, invariably fire-heavy. They are so fire-happy that a prestige class prerequisite is "must have set fire to a structure of any size simply to watch it burn"
      • Searing spell is a feat you can apply to Fire spells to make them ignore Fire resistance, and partially BYPASS FIRE IMMUNITY! It burns so hot it can burn things that can't be burned!
    • 4th edition gives us the Irresistible Flame feat. An epic-tier infernal warlock or pyromancer can simply burn straight through fire resistance. Not as useful as the previous edition's Searing Spell, but still fun.
    • And Dragon (magazine) for the same edition gives us Burn Everything, which does the same thing from heroic tier. Less powerful than Irresistible Flame, but available to any arcanist from first level on.
    • Still in 4th edition, the Pyromancer Mage has a class feature which allows him/her to straight-up ignore fire resistance with fire attacks. This, along with the "Burn Everything" feat allowing him/her to treat a creature with total immunity to fire as having 25 fire resistance, allows the pyromancer to kill anything, even creatures formed completely from flames, with fire.
    • Early editions of the game had flasks of oil that could be set alight and hurled at monsters, like weak Molotov Cocktails.
  • Fire deals aggravated damage (much harder to heal) to every creature in the Old World of Darkness (The primary except is demons). In the new one, fire just deals lethal damage (painful, but not "OW MY VERY BEING IS RENDED" like with aggravated) to mortals and those not vulnerable to it. Vampires and Prometheans receive aggravated damage from it, however (Vampires because they're desiccated corpses held together and made lively by magic, and Prometheans because the "Divine Fire" that gives them life overloads when exposed to fire).
    • In the Old World of Darkness, the vampires of the Setite clan were especially weak to fire, taking double damage from it (still aggravated). In the new one, their Spiritual Successor, the Mekhet clan, has inherited the weakness.
    • The Vampire: The Masquerade / Mage: The Ascension crossover supplement "Time of Thin Blood" saw the Technocracy respond to the rising of the Ravnos antediluvian in Bangladesh by declaring Code Ragnarok... and then beating the shit out of the ancient vampire by setting him on fire with orbital mirrors after nuking him from orbit with nukes enhanced by Awakened Science. Up to that point, everything else that various supernatural groups (i.e. Garou werewolves, Asian vampires) had thrown at Ravnos had been ineffective. So, yes, on that day, the much-maligned Technocracy saved the world. Take That, mages.
    • A vampire can heal lethal damage (swords, etc) at the rate of one Vitae per point. This isn't bad: most vampires can just abduct some random passer-by, drain him dry, and be peachy. It takes three days and only slightly less blood than the average person contains to heal a single point of aggravated damage.
  • Exalted has the flame piece and firewand, and their First Age brethren like the plasma tongue repeater. The Righteous Devil and Golden Exhalation martial arts styles let you do things like triple their usually limited range or do bonus damage. Fear the Exalt who masters both of these styles and is able to use a Charm to produce ammunition - especially since the martial arts skills required to reach the higher levels of those charm trees mean that they can still kick your arse if you disarm them.
  • This is official government policy towards all threats in Warhammer 40,000's Imperium of Man. Aliens? Reduce them to ashes. Mutants? Burn away their impurities. Nonbelievers? "Light your way in the darkness with the pyres of burning heretics." Chaos cults popping up everywhere? Kill the planet. With fire. The Imperial Church Militant's troops, the Sisters of Battle, specialize in this in-game, with a significant percentage of their troops being armoured women carrying huge flamethrowers. Sisters of Battle Seraphim can even dual-wield flame throwers.
    • The other races are pretty prone to this--almost every race has some sort of flamethrower equivalent, such as Ork "Burnaboyz", who combine flamethrower and armour-cutting blowtorch in one device. They generally tend to be constantly working on deconstruction, lest they get bored and make other Boyz "do the burny dance."
    • See also the Cult of the Red Redemption, in Necromunda. While the Sisters of Battle manage a healthy 0.2-0.8:1 flamethrower-to-soldier ratio in their various squads, virtually all Redemptionists carry a flamethrower, flamethrower pistol, underslung single-shot flamethrower on their rifle, or all of the above. Even their giant chainswords have a flamer built onto them.
    • The Imperium's military as a whole gives us flamethrower pistols, full-sized flamethrowers, vehicle-mounted flamethrowers, even Humongous Mecha-sized flamethrowers, plasma guns, and the meltagun, which is an anti-tank microwave.
    • The Salamanders chapter specializes in fire based weaponry to the point where they get special rules that make them more effective. The Salamanders list is widely agreed to be one of the most lethal army lists in the recent codex.
    • The only way for most factions inside it to permanently get rid of Orks is to burn the corpses. You can turn them into a corpse using it, but you still have to make sure afterwards to prevent the Orks from rising up again from the spores they drop when they die.
    • Love Can Bloom summed up why the Imperium loves fire:

Inquisitor Madek: "Man has a love for fire. Napalm, white phosphorus, promethium, oil, gasoline, meltas, plasmas, firestorms, incendiaries, firepower, fireline, flamethrower, fireteam, firefighter, the flames of war, fire, fire, fire. What else could be said to have benefited as much from man as fire? What other element has been defended, nursed, tutored, fed, and loved more than fire? Our cities, our books, our people, our enemies, our friends, our dead, our living, our greatest works and most heinous feats; all of them, fed to the ever hungry flames, and there it is. Years of brilliant minds worked on that one. For warfare, for country, for humanity? No. We wanted to see what fire, raw unchained flame, could do."

The question is not how to separate the innocent from the guilty. The question is how many I can burn.

    • Confronted by Treemen? Fireball. Being attacked by mummies? Burning Gaze. Taking on anything else? Conflagration of Doom. There's one lore of magic that is based entirely around killing it with fire, plus the various versions of the Lore of Tzeentch (which MUTATES it with fire).
    • There's a category for Breath weapons, and a special rule for Flaming Attacks. They are often combined. Case in point, dragons, and the Salamanders of Lustria, who are living dinosaur flamethrowers.
    • And then there's the Dwarf and Skaven entries... the Dwarf Flame Cannon and the Skaven Warpfire Thrower. Skaven being Skaven, it's rare for the Warpfire Thrower to be used consistently on the enemy.
    • This is also useful to deal with Skaven Hell Pit Abominations, since killing them with fire inhibits regeneration and prevents them from rolling on the aptly named "Too Horrible to Die" table. Said table can involve them spitting out rat swarms, or standing back up with damage restored and a temper.
  • Among the many religious or mystical denominations in Fading Suns, the Templar Avesti are the most prone to a Kill It with Fire approach. Their church's symbol is a holy flame. Avestite inquisitors and zealot monks wear fire-retardant robes with breathing masks and carry flame throwers when they do battle with mutated monstrosities.
  • The devout menites of the Protectorate of Menoth from Warmachine LOVE to kill things with fire. Many of their warjacks, warcasters, and other warriors have fire based attacks and abilities.
  • In Ars Magica this trope sums up Flambeau's magical philosophy (at least prior to 5th edition).
  • In GURPS: Magic you can create "Essential Flame" which will actually burn water elementals. A pyromaniac mage actually has a lot of fun options, besides the ever popular "Explosive Fireball" there is "Burning Death" which incinerates target from the inside out even if they're magically protected from fire.
  • Surtr from Scion 's MO.
  • Crimson Skies has an aircraft in it called the Blackflag Firestorm. The plane earned that particular name when one of the first prototype fighters' guns were loaded with magnesium rounds and it spread so much fire across the sky that onlookers had thought the air itself had burst into flames.
  • Averted in a review of FATAL. "To say that this game should be burned is an insult to fire."
  • Call of Cthulhu (tabletop game) adventure Terror from the Stars, insert "Field Manual of the Theron Marks Society". The Manual says that you can use an "Indian Water Pump" filled with gasoline as an improvised flamethrower. Just spray the monster with gasoline, then set it on fire.


Toys[edit | hide]

  • Subverted in Bionicle, in which Tahu defends himself from Nektann by using his fire powers to melt most of his enemy's armour off and incapacitate him- but making a clear point of not killing him in the process.


Video Games[edit | hide]

  • Luminous Arc series has Leon, Vanessa, Althea, Glen, and Olmoldee.
  • Mercenaries 2: World In Flames. Apart from the fact it's in the TITLE, you can use fuel-air missiles and fuel-air bombs (delivered by plane) to kill things with fire. A lot of things, with a lot of fire.
  • Mantorok and Xel'lototh zombies in Eternal Darkness can easily be killed by fire.
    • Michael Edwards also attempted to use explosives to put out the oil fires in the penultimate chapter.
  • ReDeads in The Legend of Zelda games.
    • The third quote on the quotes page.
      • That's just good advice in general.
    • Subversion: Gibdos in Majora's Mask. Light them on fire, and... you get a ReDead immediately using its stunning Screech. In most other games, it works just fine—killing them outright, or turning them into a much weaker Stalfos.
    • Logically, you would expect Keese in Ocarina of Time to be this. You would be wrong. Don't block them with your Deku shield.
  • The zombies in the Resident Evil games are vulnerable to fire.
    • In the remake of Resident Evil 1, you have to burn the bodies of zombies you kill (or blow their heads off), or they'll get up again, stronger.
    • A particular monster in Resident Evil 5 plays this absolutely straight. The only way to kill it? Incinerate it in the conveniently placed furnace. Bonus points for the window that lets you watch as the creature is immolated.
      • Although, you actually can kill this boss with your normal ammo and you gain a special treasure for doing it, but on your first playthrough you are not likely to have enough ammo, and you won't have any really strong weapon, so you can't really do it at first play, so burn away!
    • Also in 5, you can use incendiary grenades and flame ammo for a grenade launcher. While they aren't super awesome zombie killers, setting those walking sacks of walking diseased flesh who are looking at you funny on fire really helps, and if they are far enough away then they will die before they get to you.
  • Undead enemies in Final Fantasy games are weak against fire. Some zombies are weak against other kinds of magic, too.
    • Also, anything ice based is pretty obviously weak to fire.
    • Also, Flare is usually one of the strongest spells. While it's technically non-elemental, it sure looks like fire. (Also called Nuke in some games, which doesn't really clear the matter up much.)
    • Most characters apply fire to their enemies. Kefka applies it to 50 of his own men.
  • Fire is one of the only things that will permanently kill Dry Bones in the Paper Mario series. Curiously fireballs have little effect on Dry Bones in other games of the Super Mario Bros. franchise.
  • In fact, a long-term fan of RPGs (or possibly video games in general) will often find Kill It with Fire to be the first thing they think of when confronted with a zombie or similarly undead enemy.
  • This is also true for the MMORPG Ragnarok Online, where fire will deal up to 200% damage against undead enemies. Fire elemental weapons and spells can also be used against ghost enemies to deal 100% damage (unlike the "normal" element, dealing only 25% or even 0% damage). It is also effective against earth elemental foes.
  • Grass-, Ice-, Bug-, & Steel-type Pokémon take double damage from Fire, and the unfortunate Snover, Sewaddle, and Paras lines take Quad Damage, as do Steel/Bug-types and two of the three forms of Wormadam. Paras and Parasect manages to take Quint Damage with its ability Dry Skin. Scizor, Forretress, Shelmet, and Escavalier have Fire as their only weakness, but it's a Quad Damage weakness.
    • It also helps that some of the most popular Pokémon are Fire types. They usually have high Attack and Special Attack stats, plus most Fire-type attacks do a lot of damage.
    • This is a particularly viable tactic against Shedinja, which can only sustain direct damage from five different types - Ghost, Dark, Flying, Rock, and...well, guess.
    • The move Fire Fang has the special quality of being able to hit Pokémon with Wonder Guard, even if they aren't weak to Fire normally. While this wouldn't make a difference with Shedinja, it IS a useful way to be able to attack other Pokémon that have Traced Wonder Guard and Pokémon that are hacked so that they are given that ability (which would be useful on a Dark/Ghost cross like Spiritomb because it has no super-effective weaknesses).
  • One of the more useful Plasmids in BioShock (series) is "Incinerate!" which, with a snap of the fingers, sets people on fire. The random screaming from the affected splicers who've been set ablaze ranges from Nightmare Fuel to Bloody Hilarious.
    • Because if mutilated, gene addled psychopaths rushing at you with hooks to mangle you wasn't Nightmare Fuel enough, let's turn them into FLAMING MUTANTS WAILING IN AGONY AND ATTEMPTING TO DISEMBOWEL YOU. Much less frightening.
    • Sometimes being on fire doesn't always make them stop. Sometimes you need to wait for them to burn out.
    • Taken to another level in the sequel: If you have a Little Sister with you and you use that plasmid on somebody, she'll delightedly scream "Marshmallows!"
  • Half-Life 2 features a few situations where nearby gas tanks can be turned on and the vapors ignited as a convenient zombie solution. Used to spectacular effect in Ravenholm.
    • In Half Life 2 Episode One you can use highway flares to light up dark areas, or to light up dark zombies.
      • In one particular situation, you're rather quickly out of flashlight power and flares, so lighting up some zombies is a rather convenient way to get some light.
    • And then, because after all there is a human puppet being controlled by that headcrab, they scream. And scream. And scream. Just... just shoot him already.
      • To make it worse, this is what they're screaming, played backwards.
    • Also, in the original Half Life, one of the Gargantua's weapons was flamethrowers somehow built into its arms. Another alien, the tentacle, is only able to be killed when you turn on a rocket engine above its head and burn it alive.
  • In Shadow of the Colossus, the colossus Celosia can be held at bay by the hero holding a lit torch, despite the fact that the colossus dwells in a temple with four much larger fires (safely on pedestals) with no sign that it fears them at all.
    • This fact with the torch is vital to your defeat of Celosia: if you approach it while using the torch it'll back away from you, and this can be used to actually drive it off a ledge. The impact from hitting the ground below breaks the armour on Celosia's back, exposing the vital point. The trick now is getting onto its back while it's trying to charge you...
  • The Metal Gear series has two main instances of the trope; in Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake the only way to kill the Final Boss is to immolate him with a lighter and a can of hairspray, and in Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater one of the bosses is a flamethrower-wielding jetpack-equipped pyromaniac cosmonaut (which still makes more sense than the guy COVERED IN BEES!) who wants to kill everything with fire, and quickly immediately sets the battlefield (and the player) ablaze. The Final Boss of Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty streaks across the battlefield, leaving trails of fire in his wake.
  • Mass Effect lets you adapt your weapons with Incendiary Rounds and the upgraded Inferno Rounds for bringing searing pain to your enemies.
    • High Explosive Rounds not only set their targets (now corpses) on fire, but also do the same thing to nearby enemies in the blast radius, which is about four meters—and sends them flying. While on fire.
    • The sequel keeps the incendiary rounds and allows tech-savvy characters to launch an auto-seeking fireball via the 'Incinerate' power. Both are useful for stopping enemy health regeneration. There's even an achievement for letting enough enemies burn to death after they're lit up.
    • Downloadable content for the second game adds a true flamethrower heavy weapon. Short range, but effective against all defenses, and really handy for zomb-er, husks, which usually come in swarms.
    • Vido Santiago's death if you go Renegade in Zaeed's loyalty mission.

Zaeed: Fry, you son of a bitch.

  • The flamethrower in the Marathon games is an example—it's extremely effective against mainly organic enemies... less so vs mechanical targets.
  • Several Mortal Kombat characters use fireballs and such as their special attacks. Quite a few stage fatalities.
  • Annie in League of Legends has three different ways of killing it with fire, first she can throw a fire ball, second she can breathe fire, and third she can order her teddy bear to attack you (it turns into a gigantic monster that is on fire)
    • Brand follows this trope to a T, more so than even Annie. In addition, new champ Rumble has a flamethrower attached to his mech, plus a barrage of incendiary missiles. A few other champions have a fire-based skill. Everyone (once you gain a couple levels, anyway) has access to the spell Ignite, as well.
  • Everything in Alone in the Dark.
    • In the original Alone in the Dark, just the final boss.
  • In much of the Legacy of Kain series, fire is one of four reliable ways to finish off vampires (the other three being sunlight, water, and impalement, although some are resistant to sunlight or water).
    • In Blood Omen you have Flame Sword (which is second only to Soul Reaver itself), Soul Reaver has Fire Reaver upgrade and Fire Glyph, Soul Reaver 2 also has Fire upgrade, Blood Omen 2 has Immolate power, that is given near the end and Defiance has another Fire upgrade. Curiously, it also has Flame Balance Emblem upgrade for Kain, but it only makes mooks fight each other.
  • After defeating the demon Melzas in battle, Alundra finally kills him by destroying his body with fire.
  • The best way to kill Zombies in the X-COM series are with Incendiary/Phosphorous rounds, since these will automatically kill the Chryssalids/Tentaculats inside them.
  • Both played straight and subverted in Deus Ex: The flamethrower and incendiary phosphor rockets will incapacitate normal humans and the supertough The Men in Black (the latter of which can take a sniper rifle headshot and keep on fighting) with even the slightest graze, turning them into human torches that run around screaming wildly. It is also extremely painful for yourself if you don't happen to have the appropriate anti-Fire implant boosted to maximum, have a fire extinguisher you can use, or have a nearby lake to jump into. However, it has no effect at all on the MJ12 Commando cyborgs, who need to be taken down by conventional bullets, explosives or melee weapons, and is useless against robots as well.
  • In Metroid Prime you can kill it with plasma with the Plasma beam, and adapt the beam into a veritable flamethrower as well (sapping away your missiles in the process). Seeing your Space Pirate foes blacken and singe away into dust makes up for the ammunition drain.
    • In Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, the Plasma Beam makes a return, and when you let a full-charged shot rip into a horde of Tinbots, they melt!
      • A charged Plasma Beam shot in Prime 1 will also do the same effect of the blackened dust foes. Without the missile draining. The flamethrower is Rule of Cool, but unfortunately, completely useless. Ridley tries to kill you with fireballs or plasma beams in most games, plus he uses melee attacks.
  • World of Warcraft. Mages (Fireball etc.), Warlocks (Immolate), and Shamans (Flame Shock) all have direct fire spells. Hunters can lay down fire-based traps.
    • Priests have Holy Fire, which used to do Fire damage before later patches modified it into Holy damage instead. It still looks like they're being set on fire from above, though.
    • The tower of Karazhan has an encounter based upon the The Wizard of Oz. The Straw man hits fairly hard, and has a crippling weakness to fire, though not in the For Massive Damage sense. When a fire spell is cast on him, he has a high probability of simply running around in fear, unable to attack any of the raid. Many groups will have a caster dedicate themselves to spamming Fire spells on him.
    • Subverted in early raids since everything was immune to fire.
    • BY FIRE BE PURGED!
  • In City of Heroes, nearly every Archetype has Fire powersets to choose from, and all have the common theme of being all damage, all the time. Most enemies are fairly weak to fire for that matter. Ask any Fire/Fire Blaster...
    • With the sole exception of the Thermal Radiation powerset, which is a case of Heal It with Fire.
  • In the Backstory of Planescape: Torment, a group of wizards try to do this to Ignus by making him into a living conduit to the Elemental Plane of Fire. It didn't work. It made him happy! Ignus also plays this trope out against his enemies- all of his default spells (which are unique to him) are fire-based, and his default attack is throwing miniature fireballs at his opponents. A Wizard Nameless One can also allow Ignus to subject him to a Death of a Thousand Cuts version of this to gain some of Ignus's spells, by allowing Ignus to burn first a finger, then a hand, then an eye, then the Nameless One's intestines, to charred meat and ash. Except for the last one (you get a spare set if you allow the crazy dissectionist Marta to cut your guts open to see if there's anything of value inside of you), all of these are done to you while the parts you sacrifice are still attached to you.
  • Halo 3 brings you unlimited fun with the flamethrower and flame grenades. The latter tend to be so powerful they kill most enemies on contact and burn through the heaviest Brute armor and Flood forms in seconds.
    • In Halo Wars, the Earth Forces have found that while the Flood is an extremely dangerous threat, flamethrowers are excellent weapons against perhaps the worst most serious menace of the flood spore creatures.
  • In Call of Cthulhu (tabletop game): Dark Corners of the Earth, the player encounters a shoggoth at one point. At first, the player attempts to dispatch it with electricity. But this doesn't work out so well. How do you kill it? Easy. Start a gas leak, leave the room, turn the power back on (there are live wires exposed in the room the shoggoth is in), and let the horrible monster be burned to a crisp by the ensuing explosion. You even get to walk through its charred, smoking, gooey remains!
  • Insect creatures tend to be weak against fire in RPGs. Hornet Man's weak point is Magma Bazooka.
  • Fire Emblem. Eliwood's most powerful sword has the element of fire, one of the better anima tomes is called Elfire, and mages first start using fire as their weapons. This game is just loaded with this trope. The Fire Emblem's namesake item in every game tends to be a powerful seal for evil Gods.
    • FE 4: Emperor Alviss's Royal Fire Knights—a division of elite soldiers dedicated to this trope. You first see them in action when they kill the enemy's reinforcements in Chapter 5. Then they kill your units at the Battle of Bahara. When you finally fight them in Chapter 10, they're Demonic Spiders. The apple isn't falling far from the tree, Emperor Alviss himself wields a spell of Holy Fire: Falaflame. It's extremely powerful.
  • Several baddies in T'ai Fu: Wrath of the Tiger are able to be quickly dispatched by fire, including—bizarrely enough --stone mantis statues.
  • Dead Space has a flamethrower. In a subversion, however, it's more useful for discouraging necromorphs from getting close, rather than killing them; it takes a prohibitive amount of ammunition to actually kill one with a flamethrower—they're resistant to most forms of damage except being dismembered, and when's the last time you saw a fire take someone's arm off?
    • Played straight in the case of the Hunter, which is proven to be nigh invulnerable to all of your weapons, is only killed when it gets hit by the engine fire from the Ishimura's executive-use shuttles.
    • The flamethrower got an upgrade in Dead Space 2. Now it is a lot more powerful, and causes lingering damage. Also they are perfect for killing swarms of little Necromorphs.
  • The Flaming Arrows upgrade in Age of Empires makes arrows much more effective against buildings and ships. The first two games in the series also featured ships with flamethrowers. Age of Mythology also has some fire-based myth creatures such as the Norse Fire Giant or the Egyptian Phoenix. One of the Norse god powers is Flaming Weapons, as well.
  • All 3 Fallout games have incendiary weapons: the traditional flamethrower (flamer), Molotov Cocktails (in the first two games), Nuka-Cola Grenade (a radioactive molotov cocktail with even more explosive results)... and all of those weapons set their foes on fire with a critical hit (or with any hit using a Flamer) before turning the corpses into piles of ash. The 3rd game has flame-spitting giant ANTS. The games just LOVE this trope.
    • The Shishkebab!
    • In Fallout 3, if the gamer wants Kick the Dog, they can kill a certain character rather painfully with fire, rather than trying to talk him out of his deathwish or putting him down mercifully.
    • The 2nd and 3rd game have player perks that specifically make fire weapons do more damage.
    • The Fallout 3 DLC Broken Steel adds the Heavy Incinerator, which lobs fireballs at your enemies.
  • Gears of War 2 gives you access to a flamethrower, which is one of the nastier close-range weapons you can use, doubly so because of its effectiveness at getting around enemy cover. It also does a ridiculous amount of sustained damage, making it great to use to hose big, slow enemies like Boomers, Maulers, and Reavers.
    • In Gears of War 3, the flamethrower is one of the only weapons that has any effect on a Berserker.
  • Call of Duty: World At War allows you to use a flamethrower to set enemy troops on fire. Unlike the flamer in United Offensive, this one has unlimited ammo (although has an "overheating" gauge), which means indiscriminate burning death to any hapless enemy soldier.
    • Black Ops has a flamethrower attachment for assault rifles.
  • The main way of defeating the mind worms in Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri before they give you traumatic psychic hallucinations to render you helpless so they can eat your brain.
    • After building the Temple of Planet late in the game, you get this quote from Academician Prokhor Zakharov from "the Lab Three aftermath"

Let the Gaians preach their silly religion, but one way or the other I shall see this compound burned, seared, and sterilized until every hiding place is found and until every last Mind Worm egg, every last slimy one, has been cooked to a smoking husk. That species shall be exterminated, I tell you! Exterminated!

  • Spyro the Dragon. If you can't kill it with fire, you have to charge into it.
  • Flame-based weaponry is the hallmark of the Brotherhood of Nod in Command & Conquer, especially when it comes to the Black Hand, though certain GDI air strikes use napalm as well.
    • The Chinese faction from Generals have a similar love for fire. They've got flamethrowers, incendiary artillery shells, incendiary bombs, incendiary air-launched missiles, and if that doesn't solve the problem, it's time to switch to nuclear fire.
  • Dynasty Warriors loves this. It's almost as if the strategists are limited to either using fire to burn things down, or ambushes to surprise the enemy.
    • In the Shu campaign, Zhuge Liang's debut battle consisted of him setting traps in a forest. The first one to be triggered was... yes, it involved setting the enemy on fire!
    • In the Battle of Chi Bi/Red Cliffs, Cao Cao's enormous fleet outnumbering the Wu and Shu forces by something like ten to one was defeated by Zhuge Liang and Zhou Yu hatching an intricate plot to burn his ships, then strike back.
    • The fire spam gets ridiculous when you get to the Nanman Campaign and meet the armoured soldiers who seem to be invincible to your troops. A few minutes later, you can't help but laugh at Meng Huo's troops wearing wooden armour as Zhuge Liang uses fire yet again to win that particular battle. Worse, this battle happens after Chi Bi where the Shu strategist showed the whole of China without any doubt how good he was at using fire to burn things that belonged to the enemy!
  • The Burninator flamethrower in Vampire: The Masquerade Bloodlines is so powerful against every other thing in the game it makes the player feel kinda dirty for using it. One specific example is a sniper boss whose main power is the ability to teleport away and lay down a couple hits before you can get close. The flamethrower disrupts this ability and saps his health even faster than some mooks. Every enemy in the game—except for the Sheriff—is a pushover when you bring FIRE into the picture. This is based on Old World of Darkness rules (listed under Tabletop game)
  • The Bubble Bobble games have fire-filled bubbles which are strong enough to kill enemies but weak enough to stun the protagonists. Just, well, touching anything of a higher firepower (enemy fireballs) will incinerate the protagonists.
  • In Left 4 Dead, Tanks are much easier to kill once aflame.
  • The flamethrower in Return to Castle Wolfenstein.
  • In the shark-punching ultra-manly arcade game First Funky Fighter, a bonus item on stages 1 and 3 will, when hit, cause a firestorm that destroys every enemy on the screen.
  • Several Mega Man Robot Masters, including the obvious (Fire Man, Heat, Flame, Burner, Magma, and Solar), and the somewhat less so (Pharaoh, Turbo, Sword), though not Napalm Man. When Mega Man wants to Kill It with Fire, using it against the ice-wielding guys is a bad move (Except in 6, Mega Man 8 and 10 where it does the same damage as a charged Mega Buster). Oddly enough, you'll use fire against the guys trying to cut you to bits (Ring Man, Slash Man) or slinging explosives around (Bomb Man, Burst Man, Pirate Man).
    • ROM Hack Rockman No Constancy, in addition to Heat Man's weapon Proto Charge, also has Quick Man's weapon, Delay Flame.
    • In the Mega Man Zero games, weapons boosted with the flame chip are indeed extremely effective against ice opponents. (In 2, it is also extremely therapeutic, given that the boss you had to kill to get said chip was a real pain.)
    • Mega Man Star Force has a number of fire-based opponents, plus the Saurian tribe in 2, and a fair number of attacks. The "Heat Grenade" deserves special merit, since not only does it blast apart the three back rows with significant damage, but it also destroys any special scenery on those squares, such as grass.
  • In Far Cry 2, a First-Person Shooter set in modern Africa, fire is realistically implemented: many things can cause one to start (gas tanks, fuel barrels, flamethrowers, Molotovs, flare guns, the backblast from rocket launchers, and any sort of explosion) and depending on your surroundings, it can spread, fast. Aside from obvious uses like setting people on fire, enemies also react accordingly, and will back away and avoid fires, making them good distractions, allowing you to flank them, sneak into their base, or escape. Seeing an outpost up in flames, spreading across the grass, up trees, and into the jungle as far as the eye can see, is a sight to behold.
  • In StarCraft, this is how the Confederacy dealt with its rebels, and how the Protoss dealt with Zerg-infected planets.
    • Thanks to the Firebat, it's also how the Terrans deal with Zerglings, Zealots, other Firebats...
    • The sequel adds to the Terrans' arsenal the Hellion, a speedy four-wheeled craft with a flame thrower.
  • The flamethrower is one of the most effective weapons in Syndicate, especially early in the game. It also causes the victim to thrash about in pain and set everything he touches on fire... Hilarity Ensues.
  • In Samurai Shodown II many characters in that game can, in some way shape or form, torch you. There's 17 total, and counted 11 (plus the support character) can leave you in flames. Toasty!
  • Dwarf Fortress has a number of methods, including:
    • Build furniture from flammable materials, then set them on fire as an incendiary floor trap. Notable, Artifact items can catch on fire but are indestructible, and will therefore burn forever unless extinguished with water.
    • Capture and tame a dragon before it can taste dwarf blood and you have a hellbeast capable of breathing flame (although surprisingly, it isn't immune to fire, meaning particularly stupid dragons tend to incinerate themselves).
    • Magma. On the forums it is often remarked that magma solves everything, including, in one case, as a solution to a burning dwarf: if he's melted, he's not on fire anymore. Popular methods include:
      • Flood a sealed chamber with magma.
      • Flood the entire rest of the world with magma. The fortress of Boatmurdered (ab)used this to infamous effect with their Project: "Fuck the World."
      • Use carefully placed reservoirs to drop magma on invaders from above.
      • Use massive towers of pumps to build up the pressure to create magma geysers from below.
      • There are things that can't be killed by heat, and some of those can't even be killed by weapons due to a quirk of the injury system. Yet magma can still stop them if you submerge them in magma, then submerge the magma in water, which turns the magma to obsidian and crushes anything within it. One player used this method to defeat the entire population of hell using only a massive checkerboard shaped Death Trap.
  • In Minecraft, this is an effective tactic to kill mobs from a distance, lighting the ground on fire and having them walk into it.
  • The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion has several undead (including vampires) as well as trolls and high elves with a vulnerability to fire. But as the locals will frequently tell you, "a sword works just as well".
    • In Skyrim, of the three energy types used in Destruction magic, fire is noted as simply being the single most damaging, and works best overall for when you need to kill something fast. The other two energy types have their uses (cold saps stamina and slows enemies down, and shock drains magicka) but nearly everything worth shooting with magic in the first place is either damaged normally by fire or has a specific vulnerability to flames. It has the added benefit of panicking targets at low health as well.
  • Space Colony has flamethrowers to deal with fast growing plant life and insect infestations.
  • You are forced to euthanize your faithful Companion Cube in Portal by throwing it into an Aperture Science Emergency Intelligence Incinerator. Later on, you do the same to GLaDOS, in an act of sweet revenge (seeing as nothing else works and the game's second incinerator is conveniently located in the same room).
    • GLaDOS tries to do this to Chell.
    • "I'm not even angry. I'm being so sincere right now. Even though you broke my heart and killed me. And tore me to pieces, and threw every piece into a fire. As they burned it hurt because I WAS SO HAPPY FOR YOU!"
  • Defense Grid the Awakening has Inferno and Meteor towers, and since they do area of effect damage, they're great against Swarmers.
  • In the Contra series, the usefulness of the flamethrower depends on how it works in that particular game. First two games, it kind of sucks, but the third game, it's fucking awesome.
  • Can kill almost anything in Scribblenauts.
  • In the very first level of Sonic 3 and Knuckles, Dr. Robotnik tries to dispose of a pesky blue Hedgehog—responsible for thwarting his plans for world domination, twice—by napalming Angel Island and setting the entire jungle on fire. Needless to say, it doesn't work.
  • In Grand Theft Auto III, the flamethrower is surprisingly effective at toasting tanks.
    • And in San Andreas, with it's trusty throwable cousin, the Molotov Cocktail. Plus, ANY explosion will cause fire.
  • Company of Heroes practically owes this trope money. To wit: the first heavy weapons that the Americans and the Wehrmacht can get just happens to be the flamethrower upgrade, turning builder units into soldiers to be feared. From there on, the Americans can eventually get the Sherman Crocodile flamethrower tank (aka the Napalm NASCAR, while the Wehrmacht can upgrade their halftracks with twin flammenwerfers and lay fiery waste to entire swathes of land with their Nebelwerfer rockets and Firestorm incendiary artillery barrages. The Panzer Elite don't get flamethrowers, but they can lay incendiary booby traps as well as loft incendiary grenades and mortar rounds. The Brits are perhaps the least burn-happy of all 4 factions, but their sole flamethrowing platform - the faction-specific Churchill Crocodile - is a final-tier unit that gets to fire its main gun as well as use its flamethrower.
  • Tyrian- Two Words: Obvious Trope: Plasma Storm.
  • Fire Shark has the red flamethrower weapon. At max level, it shot out 6 streams of very damaging fire, two of which fired out forward and the other four swept the sides and back of your plane, easily massacring every mook in sight. There's a reason why the game is called FIRE Shark...
  • In The Nightmare Before Christmas: Oogie's Revenge the Pumpkin King's Pumpkin Bomb attack has a wide range and is Jack's most powerful attack outside of his dance attacks. He also breathes fire.
  • Utsuho Reiuji wanted to kill Gensokyo with fire. All of it. She gets better.
    • The "fire" in this case? nuclear. fusion. In the form of miniature stars.
  • In Police Quest: Open Season, you neutralize the Big Bad with a lighter and hairspray.
  • In Sacrifice this is naturally the chief weapon of Pyro, god of fire. He has exactly one unit that does not use fire in some fashion, and every single spell involves fire. Even the "defensive" spell Pyro offers does nothing for your defense, and instead just sets you on fire, damaging nearby foes while you are conveniently immune.
  • Age of Wonders uses quite a bit of fire. Numerous units enjoy the Fire Strike ability, letting them deal fire damage to foes, while the fire school of magic does exactly what you'd expect. The first game also featured flamethrower siege engines, originally invented by the dwarves but buildable by anyone.
  • Alpha Protocol has a perk named "Plan B: Kill It with Fire", which you achieve after setting 25 people on fire with the Incendiary Bombs.
  • In Battle for Wesnoth, fire is a reliable way of killing many units, and an excellent way of killing (most of) The Undead and Woses. Killing stuff with fire is the Drakes' specialty.
  • In Dragon Age: Origins, the darkspawn are weak against magical flames, along with walking corpses and sylvans. However, there are a few creatures completely immune to fire.
    • Dragon Age II increases your friendly firing fun with Apocalyptic Firestorm, which rains blazes over 10 meters for 10 seconds. The less devastating Combustion Grenade includes a helpful stun effect that can work against fire-immune beings.
  • The Flashpak, in Wing Commander IV, destroys ships by igniting their internal atmosphere, burning them out from the inside.
  • Fire spells in Shining in the Darkness.
  • In Dead to Rights, you defeat the Final Boss by knocking him into a furnace.
  • In either 358/2 Days or Chain of Memories, this is how Axel kills Vexen. After a speech about nothingness in a completely emotionless voice.
    • "Goodbye."
    • Also, this is Axel's main method of attack in the entire Kingdom Hearts series.
    • Fire/Fira/Firaga was a nasty targeted attack spell in game one. In game two, they altered it to produce a short-lived ring of fire around you.
    • In Kingdom Hearts II, Axel kills himself with fire.
    • Because Kingdom Hearts II classifies water under Blizzard magic, Demyx is actually weak to Fire spells. Tired of hearing his "Dance water, dance!"? Kill Him With Fire.
  • Team Fortress 2 has the Pyro, who focuses on this trope. The primary weapon is a Flamethower, natch. Alternate weapons include a flare gun for harassing foes far away, a fire axe for a melee weapon, a special fire axe that deals critical damage to burning enemies.
    • Sniper using the Huntsman can also get a light from their Pyro buddies, giving them flaming arrows.
    • This is also the best method for sniffing out Spies. Even if they have the Dead Ringer (feign death watch) you can still light 'em up, and it's very satisfying when you do.
  • In Defense of the Ancients fire is a common theme for heroes, it has a Witch, a magical ogre, a Phoenix who's attacks are all fire-based, also a pyromaniac troll who throws oil at you so his fire attacks hurt you even more.
  • At the end of Medal of Honor: Allied Assault, you destroy Fort Schmerzen by triggering a gas leak and igniting it with explosives. Then you have to Outrun the Fireball.
  • In Knights of Honor, one skill your marshalls (Generals) can learn makes archers and siege Weapons more powerful by, obviously, lighting them on fire. you even get a special animation of the enemy troops freaking out, and rolling on the ground before they die from the fire.
    • Dito for the cauldrons of burning oil. nothings quite as satisifying as half the enemy army burning at the gates.
  • TimeShift has the Hell-Fire, a sub-machine gun/flame-thrower combination with incendiary ammunition.
  • The pyrobot in Shatterhand.
  • In Solatorobo', Baion's Mini-Mecha, the BERIUS P-2, is specialized in killing things with fire. Certain other minor enemies as well, plus flamethrower traps placed here and there.
  • Fire weapons (Units called Arsonists and Fireflies are the two main ones, along with your various scrapyard cycles, bomber planes and helicopters)are the easiest and most effective way to take care of mutant outposts in Wasteland Empires on Facebook. And although different enemies have different items that work best against them, fire is always good to bring with you whoever you're fighting.
  • Fire kills a lot of things (including you) quickly in Dark Souls. The game offers plenty of options for fire damage too—most offensive pyromancy consists of different ways to burn things magically, purple pine resin can be applied to normal weapons to temporarily set them aflame, and weapons can be forged to deal fire damage or chaos fire (which increases based on humanity). Plenty of enemies also use fire, such as some mooks that wield torches instead of normal weapons.
  • Brutal Legend gives us the Baron, a motorcycle-riding pyromanic bad-ass and leader of the Fire Barons. According to Mangus, they were a group of outlaws that burned whatever they wanted and fled when Lionwhyte took over. They return and team up with Ironheade after helping them defeat the Drowning Doom, which gives rise to one of the most boss lines in the game:

Baron: Burn the other guys!

  • You have access to a surprising number of fire-based spells in Baldur's Gate 1 and 2, useful for killing trolls and, um, everything that gets within fireball blast radius. Especially funny if you get the Summon Fire Elemental spell (ideally with a druid like Jaheira, since they don't have to worry about it breaking free and trying to kill them, unlike mages) before going to the ruined temple in the Umar Hills quest, since the elemental is immune to the attacks of nearly everything in the main level of the ruins, allowing you to clear the whole place out without breaking a sweat.
  • Not so much for killing, but the PS Vita version of Modnation Racers weaponizes fireballs as a power-up. The thing is, because stacking power-ups increase their level, you can max it out at level 3 and fire a giant Phoenix to swoop across the track.
  • The Plasma Burst Generator in X3: Terran Conflict is a pirate-designed fighter-scale weapon that is effectively a flamethrower In Space It emits a broad cloud of superheated plasma that is murder on small ships and can do serious damage to capital ships due to Splash Damage Abuse. It's the only weapon to get a unique achievement, "Turn Up the Heat", for scoring twenty kills with it.
    • Another pirate-designed weapon is the frigate-scale Incendiary Bomb Launcher, which does burn damage when it hits.
  • There's always a chance the randomly-generated weapon you just picked up in Borderlands will add fire damage, which does increased damage to fleshy (unarmored, unshielded) enemies and adds damage over time when it hits. There's also fire barrels that explode into a burst of flame when shot.


Web Comics[edit | hide]

Belkar: It's as true today as when I started adventuring: when in doubt, set something on fire.


Web Original[edit | hide]

Amy said, "So, you're making a flame-thrower?"
"Amy, we gotta be prepared. We don't know what we?ll find in that place, but for all we know it could be the devil himself."
"David, what possible good is that thing gonna do?"
"Oh, no, you didn't hear me. I said it's a flame-thrower." Girls.

Sora: Plan A: Getting the hell out of this nightmare and pretending it never happened.
Riku: Plan B: Getting the hell out of this nightmare.
Kairi: Plan C: Getting the hell out.
Axel: Plan Awesome: Death by fire!

Western Animation[edit | hide]

  • In Beast Wars there was a character actually named Inferno. Three guess what his weapon of choice was. In addition to his flamethrower, his favorite solution to everything was to make it "BURRRRRN!" setting ablaze not just the scenery but other characters.
    • In a particularly notable example, he sets Tarantulas on fire, who then runs down the hall while ablaze, screaming.
    • "Say the word My Queen and he shall burn!"
  • Seems to be the only way of doing any sort of decent damage to Madam Rouge from Teen Titans. She's damn near invulnerable to any kind of physical attacks.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender: Fire Lord Ozai decides this trope is an appropriate response to a recalcitrant Earth Kingdom. Why bother with normal methods of subjugation when you can just set the continent on fire? Azula suggested it.
  • Scrotus threatens to show Korgoth of Barbaria a new spectrum of pain, and Korgoth responds by tearing a substantial amount of Scrotus's skin off, dousing him with strong alcohol, and lighting him on fire.
  • A Halloween episode of The Simpsons had Maggie suddenly loses her legs and grows tentacles. They take her to Dr. Hibbert, who prescribes "fire, and lots of it". This is apparently his cure for everything.
    • In "Bart Carney," a father/son carny team takes over the Simpson house. In trying to think of a way to take back their house, Bart, Lisa, and Homer are each keen on fire as an option - one that Marge keeps vetoing.

Bart: I say we set fire to the house, kill them that way.
Marge: We don't want to kill them, we just want our home back!
Lisa: Well...if we did set fire to the house..
Marge: No fires!
Homer: I've got it!
Marge: No fires!

    • In "Lisa's Sax" when Marge shows Homer a picture an upset Bart drew

Marge: Homer, I want you to look at this drawing Bart did.
Homer: [watching TV] Oh, it's beautiful! Oh, oh, let's put Bart's beautiful drawing up on the fridge!
Marge: Homer, stop. Will you please look at the drawing?
Homer: Oh, all right. What...[looks at drawing]...aaah!! Burn it! Send it to hell!

    • In one episode, Homer has to take care of an endangered caterpillar. Lisa researches the species and discovers that it is "sexually attracted to fire". Homer concludes that God must want the species to die.
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars. Season Two Trailer. Geonosians charging? Break out the flamethrowers.


Real Life[edit | hide]

  • The Coconut Crab is the largest land-dwelling arthropod. It can only be killed with a flamethrower. And it's edible.
  • Subverted by flamethrowers. They aren't used to kill things with fire, very few targets long enough for that to happen, they kill things with carbon monoxide poisoning. As a result their lethality extends far beyond the visible flames or even the direct heat. A basic primer on flamethrowers notes many myths about their use. The flamethrower stopped being used around the time of The Vietnam War, at least by the United States. There were three main reasons for this: first and foremost, the flamethrower requires an absolutely massive tank for fuel, which slows the soldier prohibitively. Second, the flamethrower isn't really all that useful a weapon if the enemy isn't entrenched to direct the carbon monoxide's expansion. Third, it's impossible to avoid killing non-combatants near the targets, which is a greater and greater issue as a military shifts from total war to combating insurgency.
  • The Raufoss Mk 211 bullet. A specialised round developed for use with .50 BMG caliber sniper rifles, its designed to peirce through armour, explode, and then set the target on fire. Its considered a war crime to deliberately use it on a person but for anti-material (as this troper remembers from Army training, things like belt-buckles, glasses, ammo pouches, ect. count as "anti-material" targets) and anti-vehicles its perfectly fine to use.
  • For a more impersonal delivery system, there's incendiary bombs, like those used fairly heavily on Japanese cities during World War II, by the USAAF. The June 10, 1945 firebombing of Tokyo caused more deaths than the immediate effects of either of the atomic bombs dropped in that conflict.
  • Incendiary (often napalm) bombing from planes was extensively used in Vietnam and later conflicts. The US military didn't give up on this trope, they just increased the range. And then there's the bizarre tale of Operation X-ray...
    • There's also The Blitz in Britain. Over a million incendiaries were dropped in the first phase. Then the Brits used the same tactic against Germany. The destruction of Hamburg and Dresden are the closest thing Germans have to a Hiroshima-trauma. The bombing of Dresden exceeded the property destruction wrought on Hiroshima. Recent accounting though has shown the death rate to have been much lower.
  • Today's flamethrowers are more along the lines of missile launchers that use incendiary ammunition. And then you have the MLRS version. A typical example is the Russian RPO Shmel ("Bumblebee"). This is a tube looking like an ordinary bazooka. Inside is a single-shot rocket filled with napalm, or worse, a fuel-air warhead. A rarer variant, RPO Rys ("Lynx"), is the same, but but you can carry extra rockets and reload it.
  • The IRA still uses flamethrowers for the psychological effect.
  • Greek fire, an ancient chemical concoction used in naval warfare that burst into flames upon contact with air. The secret of its formula was so well-kept that it is lost today. The Greek Fire was so useful back in the Medieval period that many historians agree it was one of the main reasons the Byzantine empire lasted for so long.
    • Inverted by Hippocrates: "What medicines do not heal, the lance will; what the lance does not heal, fire will."
  • It is actually a common practice among those who fight forest fires to start a number of monitored brush fires while also cutting down trees. The rationale? Fastest way to get rid of fuel and helps to stop/control the spread of a forest fire by starving it. That's the way nature does it (minus the "monitored" part). In fact, certain types of cone-bearing trees need fire to open the cones. Many of the worst fires were that bad because environmental groups Did Not Do the Research and sued to stop/prohibit thinning. Area grows into a tangle of underbrush and deadfall, lightning strikes, huge zone of flamey badness ensues. The Black Saturday bushfires in Victoria, Australia in January 2009 were partially caused by this. That, and all the arson-lit fires.
  • The back fire (starting a fire here so that the encroaching fire doesn't have fuel once it gets here) was invented on the ground. A group of fire-fighters were running from a blaze and one of them realized they couldn't escape that way. He stopped and lit a fire, urging his mates to join him. They told him he was crazy and kept running. He was the only one to survive.
  • The historical Oda Nobunaga (not the demonic, made a Deal with the Devil, comic book Super Villain one that appears in many anime) had a rather disturbing fondness for this. It began with the burning of the Mt. Hiei buddhist temples, (and the slaughter of its thousands of residents) and culminated in the Siege of Nagashima, (another warrior monk stronghold) where he forced the defenders into their entirely wooden inner fortifications, built a wall around said fortifications, then lit the building on fire. Not a single one of 20,000 people inside escaped alive.
  • Sadly, this is still a common form of 'jungle justice' in many parts of sub-Saharan Africa, especially in the port city of Lagos, Nigeria. A person caught red-handed at theft or murder is soaked in kerosene or petrol, tires stacked around him/her, and set on flame for an absolutely horrifying execution.
  • What did Sun Tzu & the Vikings both have in common? The love of fire.
  • If something won't burn with regular fire, there's always Chlorine Trifluoride. This stuff is so horribly reactive that it can light ashes on fire.
    • To quote In The Pipeline "The compound is also a stronger oxidizing agent than oxygen itself, which also puts it into rare territory. That means that it can potentially go on to “burn” things that you would normally consider already burnt to hell and gone, and a practical consequence of that is that it’ll start roaring reactions with things like bricks and asbestos tile." One propulsion engineer who'd dealt with it said that the best equipment for working with this stuff was "a good pair of running shoes."
  • Contrary to popular belief, witches weren't burned in England (or the Colonies, which mostly followed English practice). In Continental Europe, witchcraft was tried as heresy, for which the penalty was burning: but the pragmatic English tried witches for whatever they were supposed to have done with their magic, from murder down to theft and destruction of property, and sentenced them accordingly. So while there were hangings for witchcraft, there were also many cases of convicted witches getting a fine or just a stern warning. Also contrary to popular belief, this was also the practice in Europe at large. The Spanish Inquisition, for example, was quick to pronounce 'Witchcraft' as 'Insanity' and refused to even consider charges of it. However, many local courts in Spain brought people up on charges of various counts of witchcraft on their own volition, though hanging was again only reserved for the most serious of cases. Yet another contrariety to public belief, witches weren't persecuted in Western Europe before the Reformation. The Roman Catholic Church denied the existence of witchcraft and was quick to condemn those accusing others of the practise.
  • During much of English history, there were only two crimes punishable by burning: heresy and treason. The latter was punished in different ways depending on the offender's status and gender: nobles of either gender were beheaded; common men were hung, drawn and quartered; and common women were burned at the stake. Treason came in two flavors: High Treason (treason against the state, including most of what we normally think of as treason, plus sundries such as counterfeiting the King's seal or cuckolding the King's heir) and Petty Treason (murder of someone with lawful authority over you, most commonly murder of a man by his wife).
  • During the Chilean dictatorship led by Augusto Pinochet, photographer Rodrigo Rojas Denegri and college student Carmen Gloria Quintana were set on fire by the military in the middle of the protests of 1986. Rojas died due to his injuries few days later, Quintana barely survived but was badly disfigured.
  • This was once actually a medical practice. As late as The American Civil War it was, field hospitals regularly cauterized amputated limbs with hot iron. And no anesthetic beyond whisky and possibly opium. Soldiers often feared hospitals more then death, quite naturally. It did significantly reduce the chance of dying from an infection, but many soldiers didn't care.
  • Quelea are a type of small bird native to sub-Saharan Africa. They are one of, if not the most numerous species of birds in the world. Flocks number in the thousands and are capable of completely stripping grain fields in a matter of hours. How do farmers deal with the problem? They find the trees the birds nest in, wait until nightfall, and use dynamite and gasoline. Boom!
  • Interestingly, in Egypt, people really did use mummies for kindling, since when there were thousands upon thousands of mummies, they made for a ready source of fuel. Their historical value wasn't considered at the time. Could be a small amount of Fridge Horror there.
  • In TV Tropes, tropers who are screaming for an Example Sectionectomy tend to say this phrase as a reaction to a controversial page and Pothole it to this page. If the controversy is really bad, the page itself will be shouted at with this sentence.
  • A fever is essentially your body try to do this: kill off invasive microbes by creating an environment too hot for them to survive in.
  • The nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki not withstanding, the single most devastating air raid in history was the Operation Meetinghouse firebombing of Tokyo during World War II.