COLORADO SPRINGS — As firefighters wrap up their efforts to extinguish several fires that broke out across Southern Colorado, one term has continued to spark curiosity: “containment.”

What does it mean when a fire is contained as opposed to extinguished?

According to the National Wildfire Coordinating Group, a fire is contained when “the status of a wildfire suppression action signifying that a control line has been completed around the fire, and any associated spot fires, which can reasonably be expected to stop the fire’s spread.”

Put simply, a fire is contained when firefighters have created a boundary around the flames that prevents the fire from growing. This means the fire has not been extinguished, but is under control.

RedZone describes containment and its resulting percentage as “the percentage of the black ‘contained’ perimeter compared to the entire perimeter.” For example, a wildfire that is 25% contained means control lines have been completed around 25% of the fire’s perimeter.