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Arson is the crime of setting a fire with intent to cause damage. The definition of arson was originally limited to setting fire to buildings, but was later expanded to include other objects, such as bridges and vehicles.

Very often one distinguishes several degrees of arson, for example arson committed at night is usually viewed as being more serious than that committed during daytime. Setting fire to one's own property to defraud an insurance company is also a form of arson.

Wilful or negligent misconduct resulting in a forest fire, e.g., tossing a spent match or cigarette out of a vehicle in a closed area, is also subject to prosecution under many arson statutes.

see also: crime, law, firefighter, fire hydrant, fire, fire extinguisher