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The primary result of combustion. The juridical meaning does not differ from the vernacular meaning.

It is a crime to burn certain types of property under particular circumstances, both under the Common Law and a number of state statutes. Some of these crimes are regarded as Arson, but ordinarily, arson relates specifically to buildings and their contents.

The act of willfully and maliciously setting fire to property belonging to another person—such as stacks of hay or grain, grasses, fences, or wood—is ordinarily punishable as a misdemeanor. Some jurisdictions grade the offense as a felony.

Statutes relating to fires ordinarily define the acts required for conviction. Under these statutes, willfully is defined as meaning with an evil or malicious intent or malevolent motive.

An individual who willfully or negligently sets fire to his or her own woods, prairie land, or other specified areas might be guilty of a misdemeanor. In addition, it is a misdemeanor to burn such areas without first giving proper notice to adjacent landowners or for an individual to allow a fire kindled on his or her wood or prairie to escape and burn adjoining property.

Some statutes relate to burning cultivated ground. Such legislation exists to prevent disastrous fires, and they do not apply to ordinary acts of agriculture that are properly conducted, such as the setting of fire to an area of land to prepare for planting.

Under some statutes that prohibit or regulate the setting of fires, a monetary penalty is imposed on people who violate their provisions. Frequently an agency—such as a state board of forest park preservation commissioners—is named specifically in the statute to bring an action to collect the penalty. Some statutes impose liability on an individual who allows fire to escape from his or her own property even though such escape is not willful, while other statutes provide that a landowner who sets a fire as a result of necessity—such as a back fire used to subdue another fire—will not be held liable. An individual is usually free from liability when he or she is lawfully burning something on his or her own farm and the fire accidentally spreads to an adjacent farm or woods.

There is civil liability for damages at common law imposed upon anyone who willfully and intentionally sets a fire. Some statutes under which criminal liability is imposed for setting certain types of fires also make express provisions that the individual whose property is damaged by the fire may initiate a civil action to recover any loss. Generally, the limit of damages is the loss actually incurred by the fire. Some statutes, however, provide for the recovery of double or treble damages.


(Burn), verb conflagrate, deflagrate, heat, ignite, incandesce, inflame, kindle, light, scorch, singe, warm
Associated concepts: Fire Act, Firefighter's Rule, Fireman's Rule


(Discharge), verb depose, dismiss, expel, lay off, remove, stimulate, terminate, torrefy


(Stimulate), verb animate, arouse, electrify, enliven, excite, foster, goad, incite, inspirit, quicken, rouse, spur, stir
See also: ardor, barrage, burn, conflagration, deflagrate, depose, discharge, dismiss, foment, life, passion, provoke, remove, spirit, stimulate, supplant
References in periodicals archive ?
Mechanical dragons as tall as double decker buses will rampage through the town centre, breathing fire and entertaining crowds before their final encounter with the dragon slayer in front of the town hall.
It's all about a fierce dragon who arrives in baby's bedroom, breathing fire and full of temper.
WHAT a heartfelt letter from Howard Spooner (Racing Post, January 21), and how I sympathise with him and his family for the loss of Breathing Fire.
Breathing Fire looked a big danger to the market leader nearing the second last, but Catch Me asserted in good style to draw clear on the run in.
The town's iconic wind turbines on the waterfront were illuminated by giant searchlights which combed the sky, and a boat sailed by breathing fire and fountains of fireworks.
Since 1968, the association has increasingly devoted more resources to waging political fights, and has constantly lobbied to minimize the power of ATF, often breathing fire when speaking of it.
Instead of breathing fire, he took a deep breath to calm down before addressing the team.
The Belgrade outfit are breathing fire after being told they must switch the second leg of their UEFA Cup clash away from potential trouble in the Serbian capital.
Nessie-watchers say the legendary beast will be breathing fire over the error from writer Paul Harrison.
Well, Tayla gave a yawn and thought, I know I'll win this test; when it comes to breathing fire, I really am the best
It would be plainclothes vs plainclothes as we also won't don on any uniform ourselves", said he breathing fire against the extra-judicial arrests of MQM workers at a massive protest rally staged here.