IGCSE descriptive essay | 2010 May-Jun | Describe a fire from the first signs of smoke to


You are advised to write between 350 and 500 words on the following topic:

Describe a fire from the first signs of smoke to the moment when it is out of control.

Model Essay

The afternoon was calm and serene, the kind of day when everything seemed to move in slow motion. The sun hung high in the sky, casting a warm glow over the forest that stretched endlessly on either side of the narrow, winding trail. I was deep into my hike, enjoying the symphony of chirping birds and rustling leaves, when I first noticed an unusual scent. It was faint but unmistakable: the acrid smell of smoke.

At first, I thought it might be a distant campfire, perhaps from another hiker. But as I continued along the trail, the scent grew stronger, and a sense of unease settled over me. I quickened my pace, my eyes scanning the surroundings for any signs of trouble. The once clear blue sky now had streaks of gray, thin tendrils of smoke that curled upward from somewhere deeper in the woods.

The smoke became denser, transforming the air around me into a hazy veil. My lungs began to feel the sting, and I could no longer ignore the growing sense of urgency. I turned a corner and there it was – a flicker of orange and red, low to the ground but unmistakably alive. The fire was small, a patch of burning underbrush, but it crackled with a menacing energy that hinted at its potential for destruction.

I hesitated for a moment, my mind racing. Should I try to put it out? Call for help? The fire seemed manageable, almost tame, but I knew how quickly these things could escalate. As if to punctuate my thoughts, a sudden gust of wind swept through the forest, feeding the flames and causing them to leap higher. The fire hungrily consumed the dry leaves and twigs, spreading with alarming speed.

Within minutes, the small fire had transformed into a roaring blaze. The once gentle breeze had become a howling wind, carrying embers and ash high into the air and igniting new fires in its wake. The forest, which had been so tranquil just moments before, was now filled with the deafening roar of flames and the snapping and popping of burning wood. The heat was intense, radiating outward and driving me back, my skin prickling and sweat pouring down my face.


I watched in horror as the fire jumped from tree to tree, each one succumbing to the inferno in a matter of seconds. The flames danced and writhed, their orange tongues licking at the sky and painting the landscape in shades of fiery red and black. Birds and small animals fled in terror, their calls of distress barely audible over the din. The air was thick with smoke, a choking cloud that made it difficult to breathe or see clearly.

Realizing the danger, I turned and ran, my heart pounding in my chest. The fire was out of control, a living, breathing monster that consumed everything in its path. As I raced down the trail, I could hear the distant wail of sirens, a small glimmer of hope that help was on the way. But the fire was relentless, its fury growing with each passing moment.

By the time I reached a clearing, I could see the dark column of smoke rising high into the sky, a stark reminder of the power of nature and the fragility of life. The fire had started as a whisper, a faint scent on the breeze, but it had quickly grown into a devastating roar that would leave scars on the land for years to come. I could only hope that the firefighters would arrive in time to contain the blaze, to bring order to the chaos and save what remained of the beautiful forest.

In that moment, I felt a profound respect for the forces of nature and a deep sense of responsibility to protect the world around us. The fire had shown me how quickly things could spiral out of control, and how important it was to be vigilant and prepared. As I stood there, watching the distant flames, I vowed to do my part to prevent such disasters in the future, to be a guardian of the earth and its fragile beauty.

Word Count: 693