Guided Investigation


How do fire investigators study a fire scene to find evidence that helps them formulate a claim about the
way the fire started or where it started? Let’s find out!

Dan Madrzykowski of the Fire Safety Research Institute (FSRI) walks you through an actual post burn fire investigation. Watch as he shows how fire investigators approach a scene, document initial observations, methodically remove debris to uncover evidence and develop a hypothesis (or claim) about the origin of the fire supported by evidence. Evidence is data combined with reasoning, supported by knowledge and understanding of fire science.

  • What kinds of evidence does a fire leave behind?
  • Knowing how fire behaves and the clues it leaves behind can help fire investigators determine the cause and origin of a fire.
  • What story does the evidence tell you – does it match up with what you know about fire science and fire behavior?


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There’s been a fire. Your job is to figure out where the fire started, and how.


We've updated our Fire Forensics pathway based on feedback from teachers like you. Check out the new, improved look now.