A house on fire (SimCity 4)

Fires are one of the disasters in the SimCity series. A fire can happen anywhere, but is more likely to happen in areas without adequate fire coverage or inadequate fire department funding. Fires can also be triggered purposely. Depending on the game, they can also break even with disasters turned off. Fires are the most common disaster and are found in most SimCity games.

Causes of Fires

Certain areas of a city are more susceptible. This can be caused by inadequate fire coverage, high crime rates, amongst other reasons. Rubble, abandoned buildings, and buildings without a water supply are fire hazards, and are more likely to catch fire than other structures. Industrial buildings are also more flammable than buildings in other zones.

Certain disasters will cause fires as a side effect. Among the disasters that cause fires are plane crashes, tornadoes, earthquakes, monsters, nuclear meltdowns, UFO attacks, riots, volcanoes, meteors, and lightning strikes, and the player can start fires through these disasters.

The temperature can also affect the chance of a fire. Fires occur more frequently during high temperatures than during low temperatures, although this mechanism is not in all SimCity titles, as temperature is not available in some games in the series.

Preventing Fires

The best method of fire prevention is having good fire coverage. Make sure to have enough stations, place them effectively, and if your city is not in dire need of spending cuts, make few changes to funding, as stations that strike will not function as normal ones. Each fire station will provide a company of firefighters if a fire does break out.

There are several city ordinances that can be passed that will lower the number of fires that will break out. These laws include the Smoke Detector Ordinance and the Leaf Burning Ban. Also, making sure all buildings in your city have access to the city's water supply, as that will reduce their flammability.

In SimCity (2013), educated sims are less likely to start a fire compared to non educated sims.

Dealing With Fires

The best thing to do is contain the fire, if possible. Since a fire can't spread without fuel, the player can bulldoze the surrounding buildings to stop it from growing. This isn't ideal if there's an expensive building at risk.

The emergency dispatch is another important tool. The player will have a fire crew for every fire station in the city (2 for a large fire station). If there are no fire stations, a volunteer fire brigade is available, but only in some SimCity titles. Once firefighters on are the scene, they will contain the fire and prevent it from spreading outwards. The National Guard (SimCity 2000) can also be used to stop the fire from spreading to their locations. It's best to use these on expensive buildings.


  • Using the UDI Mode in SimCity 4, you can do missions where you get to put out the fires yourself, although for emergencies and for fires that have been burning for a while, this is not recommended.
  • Fires do not burn indefinitely as of SimCity 4. Even if there are available structures for the fires to spread on, the fire will die out eventually, although it's not recommended to wait for it to burn out on its own.
  • In an area under the protection of a fire station, fires will not start, no matter the circumstance, with the exception of a striking station.