A house fire is one of the very worst things that could happen to you. And you should also know that most house fires start in or near the kitchen.
That means it’s a good idea to carefully assess various foods, materials and other goods in the kitchen for fire safety.
A single mishap on the stove top or the oven might be enough to start a small fire that could eventually consume your whole house! Let’s look at cinnamon today. Is cinnamon flammable?
Yes, cinnamon is flammable in both powder and stick form because it has volatile compounds that will readily burn. It doesn’t have a designated flash point like other materials, though.
It turns out that cinnamon can burn surprisingly well thanks to the aromatic compounds that give it that delectable fragrance and taste.
No matter what form of cinnamon you are using, you’ll need to be cautious if you’re going to expose it directly to open flames or intense heat because it will ignite, and it can potentially be a massive combustion hazard if it gets into the air as dust!
Trust me, there’s a lot more you’ll want to know, so keep reading and I’ll tell you…
Is Cinnamon Combustible?
While cinnamon, a common kitchen spice, has been known to create a cloud of dust that can catch fire, it doesn’t technically qualify as a combustible material. Unlike true combustibles, it doesn’t readily ignite and burn in the presence of heat and oxygen.
Does Cinnamon Ignite at Any Temperature?
Yes, it does. Cinnamon has the potential to ignite when exposed to very high temperatures (when dry) or when exposed to direct flames.
However, unlike other flammable substances such as gasoline or alcohol, it doesn’t have a precise flash point or ignition temperature.
Its flammability is more dependent on its form (powder, stick, etc.) and the specifics of the environment rather than on reaching a specific temperature.
Does Cinnamon React with High Temperatures?
Yes, it does. Initially, heat helps release the aromatic oils in the cinnamon, making it more fragrant and enhancing its flavor, a principle that lends it to cooking and baking.
But as the temperature continues to rise, it starts to toast, undergoing a browning process that further intensifies its flavor.
However, if the heat continues to climb, the cinnamon will eventually start to char and burn, ruining the flavor, producing smoke and potentially leading to a fire in that order.
Are Cinnamon Sticks Flammable?
Yes. Cinnamon sticks are indeed flammable! Cinnamon sticks are extremely dry and full of volatile compounds, so they can catch easily fire when exposed to a flame or to very high heat (if kept dry).
Therefore, while they are generally safe to use in culinary applications, be cautious when using them around open flames or extremely hot surfaces. They will burn well and readily in such cases, and can easily ignite other flammable materials!
Is Powdered Cinnamon Flammable?
Yes, powdered cinnamon is highly flammable. A common and beloved ingredient in many kitchens, it’s still crucial to remember that these fine particles can easily ignite if exposed to intense heat by themselves.
However, during normal use, this risk is greatly minimized. This is because powdered cinnamon is usually mixed with moist ingredients, creating a damp environment that seriously hinders ignition.
Therefore, while the flammability of powdered cinnamon is a fact, its threat level in typical cooking is generally low. But, as we will learn in the next section, there are a couple of cases where powdered cinnamon can be incredibly dangerous.
Warning: Cinnamon Dust in the Air Can Be Dangerously Combustible!
An often overlooked but major hazard related to powdered cinnamon is the potential for combustive dust. When very fine particles of cinnamon become airborne, they can pose a massive fire risk.
This is due to the increased surface area of the tiny particles, which can easily catch fire when exposed to a heat source and then ignite combustively with deadly effect!
In fact, cinnamon dust has been linked as the primary fuel in several serious industrial accidents! I will note, though, that this scenario is highly unlikely within a residential setting, so don’t throw out your little pot of cinnamon.
The conditions required for such an event are rare in a domestic kitchen and generally require a huge quantity of airborne dust. Nevertheless, awareness of this potential danger reinforces the importance of handling powdered cinnamon with care in the context of fire safety.
Will Cinnamon Make a Fire Worse?
Yes, potentially, though not drastically so. Dry cinnamon in all forms can act as fuel for a fire. If it comes into contact with an existing flame, the heat can cause the cinnamon to ignite adding fuel to the fire or spreading it.
But cinnamon is not a unique fire risk that will significantly intensify an already burning fire. Like many other organic materials, it can burn, but doesn’t have properties that would dramatically escalate a fire’s intensity or spread.
Is Cinnamon Reactive with Other Substances?
To the best of my knowledge, cinnamon doesn’t appear to have reactivity with other substances that would create a special health hazard or a unique fire risk.
It’s generally safe and non-reactive in its interactions with other common substances. This includes both culinary uses, where it’s often mixed with all kinds of things, and in broader contexts.
So while it’s always important to handle all substances with appropriate safety, cinnamon doesn’t present any particular concerns in this regard.
How Should You Deal with Cinnamon Exposed to Fire?
If you find yourself in a situation where cinnamon is burning or a fire is threatening a quantity of cinnamon, respond immediately with whatever you have at hand for fighting it.
The good news is that all common extinguishing methods are effective. This includes using water or a typical fire extinguisher agent.
Just make sure to aim the extinguishing agent directly at the source of the fire if possible, ensuring that the flames stop spreading to other nearby combustible materials.
As always, if a fire becomes uncontrollable, get away immediately and call your local emergency services for assistance!
Tom Marlowe practically grew up with a gun in his hand, and has held all kinds of jobs in the gun industry: range safety, sales, instruction and consulting, Tom has the experience to help civilian shooters figure out what will work best for them.