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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.

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Police said the van had caught fire because of gas cylinder leak.
"Three fire engines with 15 firefighters were sent to the scene, where the car caught fire in the middle of roadworks.
A passenger van was on the way from Jahangira to Nizampur that suddenly caught fire and as result two persons including a child died while 12 other became injured.
Earlier, this year, eight children suffered burns as their school van caught fire near the metropolis' Orangi Town area.
A van coming from Sargodha with 17 people on board got out of control of driver due to over speeding and after hitting the wall of Islamabad Toll Plaza it caught fire.
After derailing, the cars immediately caught fire, prompting authorities to quickly evacuate local homes in order to fight the fire.
SIDON, Lebanon: A man died near Sidon's Ain al-Hilweh Palestinian refugee camp when his kitchen caught fire early Monday morning, a security source told The Daily Star.
5 Filipino seafarers missing as ship catches fire in Atlantic Ocean !-- -- Janvic Mateo (The Philippine Star) - February 16, 2019 - 12:00am MANILA, Philippines Five Filipino seafarers went missing on Monday after a Taiwanese ship caught fire off the British territory of Falkland Islands in the Atlantic Ocean, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said yesterday.
KARACHI: A school van driver suffered burn injuries on Saturday as his vehicle caught fire near Federal B Area.
Wife of Gulfam was preparing dinner in her house when a gas cylinder caught fire and exploded.
According to a source, the lone accident happened on the popular Oluwa bridge before Ore town when the vehicle suddenly caught fire killing four of the eight people on board.
According to authorities, the girl caught fire while trying to light up the fireplace in her parents' home using a flammable substance.