why do earthquakes often cause damaging fires

So why do earthquakes often cause damaging fires? 

Yeah, it’s a known fact that earthquakes are a common natural hazard, and they often lead to fires. 

They happen all the time and can cause damage to buildings, bridges, roads, and other structures. 

However, earthquakes are also responsible for some of the most destructive fires in our history.

Earthquake damaging fires occur when earthquakes come in contact with gas lines, electricity lines, and water pipes.

In this article, we’ll look at more reasons why earthquakes may cause damaging fires and what you should do if your home catches fire after an earthquake.

Can Earthquakes Cause Damaging Fires?

damaging fire cause by earthquake

Yes, earthquakes can cause damaging fires. Earthquakes can damage gas lines, electrical systems, and other infrastructure, which can lead to fires.

Additionally, earthquakes can cause objects to fall and break, which can also start fires. 

It is important to be prepared for the possibility of fires after an earthquake by having a fire extinguisher, smoke detectors, and an evacuation plan in place.

It is also important to follow safety guidelines, such as turning off gas lines and avoiding using electrical appliances, to prevent fires from occurring after an earthquake.

So, Why Do Earthquakes Often Cause Damaging Fires?

Earthquakes are a common occurrence in California and other parts of the world, but they’re not always linked to fires. 

In fact, earthquakes can cause fires in many different ways. 

Here’s what you need to know about earthquakes and their effects on human lives and property:

Fact #1: Earthquakes And Fires Are Not Always Linked

building fire cause by earthquake

Earthquakes and fires have a long history together, but they’re not always linked. 

Earthquakes can cause fires to start in buildings, but not every earthquake will do it. 

Fires are more likely to be sparked by gas stoves that are knocked over or broken during an earthquake than any other means of ignition.

Fact #2: Not Every Earthquake Causes Fires

Earthquakes can cause fires, but not all earthquakes do. Earthquakes are common and occur throughout earth’s history. 

They happen when two tectonic plates collide with each other or slip past each other. 

Earthquakes can occur in many different ways, from large ones that cause damage to small ones that don’t. 

For example, fires caused by errant cooking stoves knocked over during an earthquake are common during major quakes. 

Fires can be caused by faulty chimneys falling onto homes due to weakened foundations after an earthquake. 

Fires are also caused by fallen trees blocking roads after being pushed away from their roots because of strong winds coming from nearby mountains.

In general, the most common way fires are started during earthquakes is through lightning or gas explosions.

Note: Fires can also be sparked by fireplaces and gas stoves that are knocked over or broken during an earthquake.

How Are Fire Caused By Earthquakes?

gas lines may cause fire

Earthquakes cause fires by shaking up the ground and gas lines, electricity lines, and water pipes. 

The tremors cause a problem with your home’s foundation. 

If you have an old house or one made out of wood, it may be damaged due to the earthquake. 

The shaking may also cause cracks in walls or floors leading to structural damage as well as leaks in pipes which will then lead to flooding around your house if there are no screens installed at all!

Earthquakes can cause fires. 

Fire is a natural disaster that has been around since humans first started living in caves, and it will likely continue to affect our planet for many years to come. 

As such, the question “how do earthquakes cause fires” is an important aspect for people to know and its impact on our daily lives.

How Earthquakes Cause Fires

Earthquakes are a common natural hazard, and they often lead to fires because of all the damage they do to human structures. 

Here’s how earthquakes cause fires:

By Damaging Electrical Power Or Gas Lines

Earthquakes can cause fires by damaging electrical power or gas lines. 

Structures can be directly damaged by the ground shaking, causing sparks that ignite an uncontrollable fire.

After an earthquake, the roads can crumble and block access to fire stations and other emergency services. 

electrical power damaged

Roads, bridges, and overpasses may collapse as a result of landslides or falling trees. 

It could also be a result of debris from buildings that have collapsed, flooded rivers, and other factors.

Earthquakes can cause fires by damaging electrical power or gas lines. 

If a fire breaks out in an area where there’s no power, it will be impossible for firefighters to reach your home or office as quickly as they might otherwise have been able to do. 

Roads and bridges may also crumble under the strain of an earthquake. 

This may lead to blocking access to fire stations and preventing firefighters from responding.

Tip: During an earthquake gas mains or fuel tanks can break, causing gas or oil to spill.

Gas Mains Or Fuel Tanks Can Break, Causing Gas Or Oil To Spill

If a gas main or fuel tank breaks, there’s a risk that some of the gas or oil will escape and cause a fire. 

This can happen if the break is caused by an earthquake, but it can also occur due to other types of damage. 

oil spill due to earthquake

For example, if you see cracks in your home’s walls and ceilings after an earthquake strikes, this could be caused by broken pipes and/or foundations. 

Structures can be directly damaged by the ground shaking, causing sparks that ignite an uncontrollable fire.

In addition to these immediate effects on people’s homes and workplaces, earthquakes can also damage buildings themselves. 

And these structural damages are often difficult to repair after the fact.

Tip: The danger posed by these leaks is not just limited to fires; they're also likely to cause serious damage to health and safety conditions for nearby residents.

By Rupturing Gas Lines

gas lines ruptured

The most common way an earthquake causes a fire is by rupturing gas lines or by starting fires at the site of ruptured electrical generators. 

This leads to an explosion that causes a fire. 

The pressure change in these explosions can also cause electrical equipment to short out. 

This may result in sparks and additional damage to buildings and property.

Earthquakes can cause fires by rupturing gas lines and starting fires at the site of ruptured electrical generators. 

In areas where there are no electrical generators, earthquakes can still cause several problems.

Tip: The earthquake itself may also cause a spark that ignites an existing fire somewhere in your home or office building.

How Much Damage Can An Earthquake Cause?

Earthquakes are not all created equal.

The amount of damage an earthquake causes depends on several factors, including its magnitude and how close it is to populated areas. 

Shallow earthquakes cause much more damage than deep ones because they occur near the surface where buildings are built. 

shallow earthquake more damaging

Do you live near a major fault line where there have been many smaller quakes over time? 

Then your home may be more vulnerable to being damaged by big ones than if you lived farther away from that fault line or none at all.

Note: Magnitude is a measure of how deep an earthquake occurs in the earth’s crust, which can be measured by how much ground shakes from one earthquake event.

What To Do If Your Home Catches Fire After An Earthquake

The sight of a house on fire after an earthquake is always terrifying. 

If you’re lucky, your home won’t catch fire and burn down. But if your home catches fire after an earthquake, here are some things you should do:

Get out of the house as quickly as possible and call 911. If you cannot get out of your home on your own, stay where you are and call 911 for help. 

Your chances of survival will be better if someone else is with you when this happens.

Use a fire extinguisher if available. You may want to have one nearby in case of an earthquake.

How And Where Can You Put Out The Fire?

use fire extinguisher to put out fire

If you have time, use a fire extinguisher to put out the flames.

If you don’t have time and are in an emergency, try smothering the fire with water or baking soda.

A wet towel or blanket can also help smother a small blaze if it’s small enough to fit into your hands (or around your face). 

Be careful not to get burned!

How Can You Prevent Earthquakes Damaging Fires?

prevent damaging fire

It’s also important to have fire prevention strategies in place, like the ones listed below

  • Identify potential fire hazards in your home.
  • Ensure you always have a fire extinguisher and first aid kit near the front door, in each room, and on every level of your home.
  • Have a plan for how to escape if there is a fire or other emergency at home by making sure everyone knows where they are supposed to go if the power goes out. 
  • Keep cell phones charged and ready.


Why do earthquakes often cause damaging fires? Earthquakes are a common natural hazard. 

Fires are one of the biggest dangers that we face from earthquakes. 

But there are several other ways in which earthquakes can cause problems for us. 

Whether it’s due to power outages or gas leaks, an earthquake can potentially ruin everything you have worked for or saved up for over time.