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Question: What is the punishment for making a forest fire?

Answer: Depending on what you are charged with. Under Arizona law, there are provisions for Reckless Burning, a class 1 misdemeanor (ARS 13-1702), and Arson (ARS 13-1703) ranges from being a class 4 felony, down to a class 1 misdemeanor, depending the value of the land burned.

Reckless burning would apply to a situation where you didn't put your campfire completely out, or flicked a lit cigerette or ashes out. Arson is where you intended to set the fire.

Class 1 Misdemeanors under Arizona law are punishable by up to 6 months in jail and/or a $5000 fine. A class 4 Felony is punishable by 1 - 15 years in prison, depending on the defendant's criminal history and/or $150,000 fine.

You can also be held responsible for restitution for the damage caused by the fire, and may also be required to pay for the cost of fighting the fire. With forest fires, fighting the fire can cost millions of dollars.

The federal laws are different, but similar if the forest fire happens on the National Forest or a National Park.

1 thru 2 of 2 comments
On 08/29/07
Patch from AZ said:
Were you planning on setting a forest fire? Sort of an odd question. I think the huge fines are good, because it's tons of damage that is caused.
On 11/11/03
Andrew from CA said:
Due to the recent fires in California that have devastated over 3500 homes, destroyed a plot of land totalling the size of Rhode Island, and left thousands homeless, the effects are becoming known throughout the nation. Unfortunately most of the destruction was brought forth by intentional burning of Arsons. Reviewing the laws of Arson, we need to be fully responsible for the capture and punishment of the convicted arsons, and be sure their penalties disallow them to ever have an oppurtunity like this again.
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