Catching Fire

Why do we love to stare into open flames?

Children tend to be in fire’s thrall for years when they first experience it, drawn to it in ways that make parents shudder. As many as 75 percent of children engage in “fire play,” often up to age 12. In other words, we were all little firebugs at one point in our young lives. Why is that? At least one study argues that our fascination with flames is directly tied to our ability to master them.