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Azula struck Iroh with blue fire, possibly with the intention of hurting him severely. Azula can generate lightning at a normal speed, it is just that the generation of lightning naturally takes longer than creating fire. Azula knew that in order for her to escape, she needed to do something fast, and thus, lightning was out of the question. By using blue fire, she initiated a quick attack which allowed her escape, but at the same time, she produced something more damaging than normal orange fire.

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