Heavy Metal » Let Burning Metals Lie
it a pile of smoldering magnesium with CO2, and you'll see a reaction that makes clear why some fires are best left alone. If you ever see a large industrial metal fire (yes, they happen) on the news, you may be surprised at what the firefighters do to extinguish it: nothing.
Several metals, including lithium, sodium and magnesium, can burn easily, and from time to time large amounts catch fire in factories. But even heaps of burning metal need not cause immediate panic. They don't blow up; instead they tend to build up ash that chokes off their oxygen supply, so they slowly burn out.