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1. a highly flammable material, such as Greek fire, formerly used in warfare
2. lightning without audible thunder



an infectious disease of tobacco and Indian tobacco caused by the bacterium Pseudomonas tabacum. Wildfire is characterized by the appearance of numerous pale yellow chlorotic spots, reaching 2 cm in diameter, on the leaves and, sometimes, on the sepals and pods. The diseased areas desiccate in dry weather and rot in humid weather, which often leads to the perforation of the leaves. The causative agent of wildfire enters the plant through the stomata and damaged tissues. The bacterium is preserved in dust that has settled in drying sheds or clinged to seeds and to greenhouse stock; it is also preserved in the unrotted remains of a harvest. Wildfire decreases harvests by 40 to 50 percent. Prices for tobacco leaves drop by 80 percent when the leaves are diseased.

Control measures include using liquid disinfectants on seeds, disinfecting greenhouse stock, spraying seedlings with Bordeaux mixture during the phase of two true leaflets, and growing resistant varieties. The application of potash fertilizers and autumn plowing are also recommended.


Grushevoi, S. E. Bolezni tabaka i sistema meropriiatii po bor’be s nimi. Moscow, 1950.
Leonov, I. P., A. G. Petrenko, and G. M. Psarev. Posobie dlia tabakovodov. Moscow, 1968.



(plant pathology)
A bacterial disease of tobacco caused by Pseudomonas tabaci and characterized by the appearance of brown spots surrounded by yellow rings, which turn dark, rot, and fall out.
References in classic literature ?
Long before sunrise the news of this calamity spread like wildfire through the different encampments.
The news that Robin Hood had come back again to dwell in Sherwood as of old spread like wildfire all over the countryside, so that ere a se'ennight had passed nearly all of his old yeomen had gathered about him again.
The news had spread like wildfire through the town.