All fires involve the chemical reaction of the burning substance with oxygen in the air, the release of great amounts of heat, and the rapid conversion of the combustion products into gases. Uncontrolled burning may destroy property and human life. Fires are most frequently caused by carelessness, misuse of industrial equipment, spontaneous combustion of raw materials and finished products, static electricity, lightning, and arson.
Fires extinguished in their early stages and involving no losses constitute about 25% of the total number of fires. Only a small percentage of fires are major fires occurring in depots, warehouses, stores, and other places where goods are concentrated; nevertheless, the material damage resulting from these fires is considerable.
The Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential is a collaboration between UIA and Mankind 2000, started in 1972. It is the result of an ambitious effort to collect and present information on the problems with which humanity is confronted, as well as the challenges such problems pose to concept formation, values and development strategies. Problems included are those identified in international periodicals but especially in the documents of some 60,000 international non-profit organizations, profiled in the Yearbook of International Organizations.
The Encyclopedia includes problems which such groups choose to perceive and act upon, whether or not their existence is denied by others claiming greater expertise. Indeed such claims and counter-claims figure in many of the problem descriptions in order to reflect the often paralyzing dynamics of international debate. In the light of the interdependence demonstrated among world problems in every sector, emphasis is placed on the need for approaches which are sufficiently complex to encompass the factions, conflicts and rival worldviews that undermine collective initiative towards a promising future.
Non-profit, apolitical, independent, and non-governmental in nature, the UIA has been a pioneer in the research, monitoring and provision of information on international organizations, international associations and their global challenges since 1907.