A forest fire is an uncontained fire that burns the natural landscape, including forest land, grasses, piles of debris, and other materials. Forest fires may also burn, or threaten to burn, structures such as homes and businesses.
It is important to note that campfires are usually permitted, so long as they are adequately contained and are a safe distance from flammable materials. However, campfires may be illegal in areas where the danger of forest fires is very high. Illegal campfires are often punishable by citations and fines.
Can I be Held Liable for a Forest Fire?
Under state and federal law, any person or corporation whose negligence or intentional acts cause a forest fire is liable to the relevant fire fighting agency for the costs and expenses of fighting the fire. Large forest fires burn millions of acres, and often take thousands of people, and millions of dollars, to put out.
Perpetrators may also face criminal penalties, such as fines, imprisonment, probation, and a criminal record. In situations where little harm is done, the authorities may only issue a citation or warning.
Do I Need a Lawyer for my Forest Fire Problem?
If you face civil or criminal liability charges for your involvement in a forest fire contact an attorney immediately. A civil or criminal defense attorney can advise you of your legal rights and defenses, and help guide you through the complicated legal process.