SimCity Gameplay Lead Dan Moskowitz describes the creation and spread of fire in the game (1:36)
Electronic Arts today released a new video for SimCity offering new info about this game currently in development at Maxis Emeryville and scheduled to be available in 2013 for PC. This movie shows the fire system - like most of the civic buildings in the city, your fire station is composed of multiple parts: garages, fire trucks, dispatch towers, hazmat vehicles, helicopters and more. The bigger the station, the more it will cost you, so you need to be careful not to outspend the income you receive from taxes. However, having an awesome fire station doesn't guarantee a fire-free city - if your roads are congested with traffic, then none of your trucks will arrive in time, even if the fire is only one block away.
You can also prevent major fires by carefully controlling how you zone. Avoid zoning large industrial areas. Industrial buildings tend to burn hot for a long time and create hazardous air pollution (especially the ones filled with fuel or chemicals). Small buildings contain less flammable materials than large buildings, so you can avoid big fires by keeping your city’s density low. Another zoning trick is to keep plenty of space between your buildings to keep an out-of-control fire from spreading too far.