Firefighting is the act of extinguishing fires. A firefighter suppresses and extinguishes fires to protect lives and to prevent the destruction of property and of the environment. Firefighters may provide other valuable services to their communities, including emergency medical services.

Firefighting demands a professional approach. Many firefighters achieve a high degree of technical skill as a result of years of training in both general firefighting techniques and developing specialist expertise in particular fire and rescue operations such as aircraft/airport rescue, wilderness fire suppression, and search and rescue.

One of the major hazards associated with firefighting operations could possibly be the toxic environment created by combustible materials, the four major risks are smoke, oxygen deficiency, elevated temperatures, and poisonous atmospheres. Additional hazards include falls and structural collapse that can exacerbate the problems entailed in a toxic environment. To combat some of these risks, firefighters carry self-contained breathing equipment.

The first step in a firefighting operation is reconnaissance to search for the origin of the fire, to identify the specific risks, and to locate possible casualties.

Fires can be extinguished by water, fuel removal, or chemical flame inhibition.