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Fires may break out in a town from time to time. If a fire does break out, citizens will carry water from the nearest source to reduce the time the fire burns, and hopefully keep it from spreading to nearby buildings. The maximum amount that fire will spread is 3 tiles, so creating a road 4 tiles wide will act as a firebreak, helping to minimize the spreading of the fire.

In areas far away from rivers, streams, and lakes, wells can be built as a water source to put out fires quickly.

Citizens unfortunately don't put any priority in extinguishing a fire, opting to finish whatever jobs they were doing beforehand. This is when the Priority Tool shines, and will cause any spare laborers to immediately attempt to put out the fire.

As soon as a building catches fire, you have lost it, but putting out the fire will stop neighboring buildings from catching.

Fires do not happen when you turn disasters off at the start of the game.

Patch 1.0.2 has a few updates regarding fires:

  • Citizens are now more effective at fighting fires and putting them out.
  • When fires break out, citizens fighting the fire now run at high speed.
  • Citizens working in an area where a fire breaks out will now be interrupted to help fight the fire.
  • Fixed a bug that caused non-laborers to not fight fires.
  • Citizens fighting fires will only be interrupted by sickness, freezing, or starving.
  • Citizens will now only search for water in an area around the fire. Far inland areas need wells for fires to be fought.
  • Increased the number of citizens that can fight a single fire to 50.
  • Increased the area of effect for citizens fighting a fire.
  • If enough water is brought to a building on fire, the chance of the fire spreading is lowered.
  • Fixed a bug that caused buildings on fire not to be high priority.
  • Fixed a major slowdown in large towns when fires break out.