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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 ?
The car, which belonged to a Lebanese Army soldier, caught fire after it crashed into a truck and was thrown to the side of the road.
According to eye witnesses, the house, made up mostly of plywood, caught fire early in the morning.
A spokeswoman said the occupier had apparently left cooking unattended which caught fire.
The car's engine caught fire and the emergency services were called.
Motorists faced traffic chaos at morning rush hour when the articulated lorry loaded with food caught fire on the M5, causing 15-mile tailbacks.
A police spokeswoman said: 'The lorry caught fire just before 10am and caused long delays.
ENGLAND midfielder Steve McManaman was involved in a terrifying mid-air scare when the plane carrying the Real Madrid squad from Moscow had to turn back after it caught fire.
All 700 passengers were rescued from a Philippine ferry that caught fire Thursday in waters off Verde Island, about 100 kilometers south of Manila, the coast guard and the ship's owner said.
Summary: Jakarta [Indonesia], October 26 (ANI): At least 27 persons on Thursday were killed and 35 were injured in a firecracker factory which caught fire in the western area of Indonesia's capital of Jakarta.
Islamabad -- Passenger van caught fire unexpectedly at Zero Point on Islamabad Expressway on Saturday afternoon, driver alongside passenger remained unhurt.
KARACHI -- At least 27 persons were killed when a coach caught fire after a headon collision with an oil tanker at National Highway near Steel Town here late Saturday night, area police and Edhi ambulance officials said.