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Does smoldering combustion only occur in an environment where oxygen levels are low? Will it always transition into flaming combustion (whenever there is ample supply of oxygen?

Or can it keep smoldering even when there is an ample supply of oxygen?

Some smoldering areas in forests continue to smolder for years where there is an ample supply of oxygen -> it's open air.

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    $\begingroup$ An adequate supply of oxygen is not necessarily the amount present in air. If there were a lot more, almost everything would burn all the time at the slightest provocation. This would be inconvenient for life. The amount we have is a balance that minimises too much burning without choking all the living things that want to breathe. $\endgroup$ – matt_black Oct 7 '16 at 15:42
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If you're smoldering, you're generally not producing enough heat to vaporize anything except in a small local environment. Only the vaporized fuel will burn.

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