from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A fire in low-growing, scrubby trees and brush.
  • n. A relatively minor crisis.
  • adj. Minor enough to involve only small-scale mobilization of counteracting resources: brushfire wars.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A large fire in a scrubland or prairie, as opposed to a forest fire, which happens in forests.


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • The land around the Woodglen Community Homeowners Association has now been identified as a brushfire area and brush needs to be cut back as well, he said.

    San Gabriel Valley Tribune Most Viewed

  • What they both fear is any kind of brushfire which might ignite from supporters or elsewhere.

    CNN Transcript Feb 28, 2008

  • CROWLEY: Just days for the Texas and Ohio primaries that could end or revitalize her campaign, Clinton does not need the kind of brushfire set off by a high-profile Latina supporter who told a Texas television station Obama has a problem with the Latino community because he's black.

    CNN Transcript Feb 28, 2008

  • We got that brushfire which isn't too far from there and that creates more particles in the atmosphere.

    CNN Transcript Jan 9, 2008

  • Other risks, global and potentially existential (catastrophic meteorite impact, pandemic disease, climate changes, collapse of the global socioeconomic infrastructure due to insufficient forward planning "Y2K") or "merely" regional (local famine, 'brushfire' conflicts formerly closely confined by their implications for the balance between superpowers) increased in their relative importance and/or attention regardless of any change in their independent

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  • If you look at the backstory, you'll see there's a limit on resources, plus people were scared into "brushfire" wars, rather than all out wars.

    Ad Astra

  • Our growing military engagement in Guatemala, Cuba, and Vietnam created a counter-insurgency mentality among political and military leaders who hoped to stifle spreading "brushfire" wars through the deployment of counter-guerrilla forces of their own.

    A Special Supplement: Anthropology on the Warpath in Thailand

  • Let's get this out of the way quickly, before it turns into some kind of brushfire: Top Stories

  • Even some of the 'brushfire' games get out of hand and end up like that. "

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  • However, my two pregnancies had ripped through my body like a brushfire, leaving me sick, depleted and more apt to care for a hamster rather than two tiny, helpless human beings.

    Heidi Brod: Reboot Your Body


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