Timber is an essential raw material needed in constructing one thing or the other in all fields of human endevour. It is combustible. In this research, fire characteristics of fifty-seven (57) tropical timbers were investigated. The characteristics studied are: afterglow time (AGT) and oven dry density (ODD). The tropical timbers with the highest AGT and ODD are T. africana and Manilkara respectively while the ones with the least of these fire characteristics were B. nitida and B. bonopozense respectively. Although some tropical timbers with lower ODDs possess high afterglow time, some of the timber with higher ODDs possess lower afterglow time, it can be said that there is neither direct nor inverse relationship between the afterglow time of the tropical timbers and their oven dry densities. Though density is an important factor, in determining the fire characteristics of timber, the cellular structure, molecular composition, orientation of fiber (direction of grain) and timber extractives (e.g. resins) deserve a special attention in explaining the results. The aims and objectives of this work is to identify the timbers that are fire resistant and those that are not; to compare the afterglow time of these tropical timbers with their oven dry densities and to relate these characteristics to failure analysis of timbers in constructional work.
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