Survive The Fire


Isaac Newton is stranded on an island covered in forest.

One day, when the wind is blowing from the west, lightning strikes the west end of the island and sets fire to the forest. The fire is very violent, burning everything in its path, and without intervention the fire will burn the whole island, killing the man in the process.

There are cliffs around the island, so he cannot jump off.

How can the Isaac Newton survive the fire?
(There are no buckets or any other means to put out the fire.)
Also considering that he has got no other tools to dig the ground, would he survive till the end at that island?

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  • 2 Answer(s)

    Solution :

    Isaac Newton picks up a piece of wood and lights it from the fire on the west end of the island.

    He then quickly carries it near the east end of the island and starts a new fire. The wind will cause that fire to burn out the eastern end and he can then easily shelter in the burnt area.

    (Irony :  Isaac Newton will definitely survive the fire, but he will surely die of starvation, with all the food in the forest burnt.)

    NitinGurbani Genius Answered on 27th December 2015.
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    The wind is flowing from the west, which means the fire will catch up faster towards the east than towards north or south. Newton can choose to go in either directions (north or south). Also, we can assume the fire will consume larger areas in the directions of north and south as it moves further towards the east (i.e. making a frustum-like fire zone). Hence, after reaching south (or north), Newton can choose to move towards the extreme southern west (or northern west) in due time.

    toshniwalprakhar Curious Answered on 27th December 2015.
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