Salamanders and the Big Dipper in Japan?

After watching a bunch of anime over my lifetime, there are two things I've noticed recently (in various shows) that I do not understand. I'm talking about the correlation of salamanders (humid-loving water lizards basically) to fire, and The Big Dipper to a "Grand Chariot." What is the origin to these things in Japan? How do Salamanders relate to fire? Is Polaris (The North Star) called something different there? The big dipper one seems self-explanatory I guess, but I really don't get the Salamander one.

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  • Maybe they look sorta fierce? Or those people didn't learn that much about the origins of salamanders.

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